The other day I discovered a herb at a huge garden store in my neighbourhood. It looked like ray-grass but it was labelled: santolina. I have never heard of this herb before which of course made me curious. After arriving home I started to google in the internet but there was very little information of santolina. Luckily I have an Italian friend and next day when we met I’d got the information that the santolina vividis is a native herb to Mediterranean countries. -“It surprizes with its aroma of marinated olives.-esclaimed Gianluca with a great enthusiasm-” A delicacy you can add to Mediterranean pasta dishes, pizzas, pestos, leaf salads, antipastis such as tomato & mozzarella. Also ideal for marinating gherkins. And please try given santolina in sparkling wine. Simply put 5 cm long whole green santolina in sparkling wine glasses. It won’t be only decorative but it will have a delightful taste-finished Gianluca (winded) the praising of the santolina and at the same time he promised me to ask a recipe from his mother (with using santolina). Here it is:
Ingredients: 1 tsp active dry yeast, 1 tsp sugar, 4½ cups flour, 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing loaves, 1 tsp kosher salt, cornmeal, for dusting ½ cup minced kalamata olives, ¼ cup minced green olives, 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley, 2 tbsp minced fresh thyme, 1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary, Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
1. In a large bowl, stir together yeast, sugar, and 1⅓ cups water heated to 115°; let sit until foamy, 10 minutes. Stir in flour, oil, and salt and mix until a dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead for 6 minutes. Cover with a damp towel; let sit until doubled in size, 1½ hours. 2. Heat oven to 500°. Divide dough into 5 equal pieces. Working with one dough piece at a time, roll into a rough 8″ x 5″ triangle. Transfer rectangle to a cornmeal-dusted, parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut three lengthwise parallel slashes in middle of dough and one small slash below and parallel to middle large slash. Spread slashes apart with your fingers. Cover with a damp towel; let rest until puffed, about 30 minutes. Combine olives and herbs in a bowl. Lightly brush each dough piece with oil; sprinkle with olive mixture and season with salt and pepper. Bake, one at a time, until golden brown, about 15 minutes each.
The santolina is a perennial plant and hardy, it needs a very low maintenance. It likes sunny to semi-shaded location, small button shaped flowers appear from July onwards give organic fertilizer every 4 weeks.