Salty snacks and strong drinks are a match made in dive bar heaven. But while the usual suspects like popcorn and peanuts are serviceable with a shot and a beer, a homemade cocktail deserves better. At The Hop—a Beacon, New York-based bar and restaurant—the go-to snack is a mix of tart picholine olives and crunchy toasted almonds tossed with olive oil, herbs and spices. Chef and owner John Kelly loves the recipe because it is so simple but results in a deliciously complex bowl of crunchy-spicy-tangy goodness. “The toasted nuts offer a full earthy flavor that’s balanced out by the briney olives,” Kelly says. “Fresh herbs brighten up the depth of flavors and the cayenne adds heat.”
The next time you need one of those looks-fancy-but-is-actually-super-easy recipes, keep this spicy snack in mind. Feel free to adjust the spice and herb levels to your liking.