If you are in a hurry, use 3/4 cup prepared olive paste instead of the olive-herb mixture; brighten the flavor with a little lemon juice, zest, and minced fresh thyme or rosemary.
Makes about ¾ cup.
• Scant 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
• 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
• 3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
• 3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
• Pinch salt
• 1 1/4 cups (1/2 pound) pitted, ripe, brine-cured black olives, such as Calamata or Gaeta, coarsely chopped
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
In a mortar, pound together the garlic, thyme, rosemary, lemon zest, and a pinch of the salt. Gradually add the olives and the olive oil. Pound to a coarse paste. Alternatively, combine these ingredients in a food processor, pulsing to a chunky mash.