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Aurora

Olives, Olives, Olives!

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I just read an article on olives in the September-December 2001 No. 54 issue of Spain Gourmetour. I am of the opinion that olives are not as celebrated or appreciated United States because they do not represent a significant portion of our agricultural heritage. Some people even seem to fear them.

I am working for a restaurant that is currently involved in a major food festival. One of the dishes that they are offering is prepared with a traditional Cuban picadillo that contains raisins and--olives.

The raisins and olives add balance and flavor and are not prominent ingredients in the dish. On the whole, the dish has been well-received. Still, there are a significant portion of festival attendees, who upon hearing "olives", recoil in horror. They are so opposed that they are not even willing to try the dish. I found the frequency of the reaction very curious.

I realize that not every person is going to like everything, but the reaction seems strangely disproportional. I think that much of the negative response is due to olives being misunderstood in terms of a midwestern food sensibility. A popular view of olives relegates them to a garnish that comes in a jar or a can. With the exception of using olive oil, olives are almost entirely overlooked in the kitchen.

I love olives, and I have yet to meet one that I didn't like. I would like to know what others think. Do you love them? Do you hate them? What are your favorite variaties? If you cook with them, please discuss your favorite dishes that include them. Mind you, I'm talking olives, not necessarily olive oil. :biggrin:

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All types of olives are great - never met an olive I didn't like.

My favorite olive spread consists of green olives (1 LB) with EVOO (1/3 cup), juice of one lemon, five garlic cloves and a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

Works as an appretizer on toasted french bread or with scooped roasted mini red potatoes. Great with grilled chicken breasts or as the inside topping for Salmon Wellington or en croute if you prefer.


Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Olives and raisins in picadillo seem like a natural fit. I don't know why. Sort of like raisins and anchovys in Sicilian cuisine, or raisins and garlicky roasted tomatoes in Catalan cuisine. It's just one of those sweet/salty combos. But my favorite olives are at the olive oil shop in Nice, Alizari. They sell small pitted olives that are stuffed with a tiny rolled anchovy. Phenomenol. Can't leave the shop without buying a 100 gram bag.

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This morning at La Bottega I carefully scooped what I thought to be green olives stuffed with garlic into a container. Certainly easier than stuffing them myself, which I often do. The tips of the garlic cloves looked appealingly firm. When I bit into one, I was amazed to find that it was not garlic at all but a blanched almond. :unsure:

Not that flavourful really, but interesting texturally.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Still, there are a significant portion of festival attendees, who upon hearing "olives", recoil in horror.  

In the midwest, I've witnessed similar responses to the mention of chicken liver. Is it possible that olive trees are actually poultry?

I like my oil souri (syrian), nyons to eat straight and kalamata for cooking. I also like the souri olives prepared the traditional way, where they are hit with a heavy object prior to curing. One of my favorite dishes in the whole wide world is a fillet of red mullet served on squid ink pasta (that is, pasta that was drenched in squid ink) and tapenade in the Mul Yam restaurant in Tel-Aviv. Another unexpectedly lovely dish I've had was pigeon with foie gras and black olives (I forget which varietal) in Bordewijk, Amsterdam. I sometimes wander what the chinese would have done with olives...

And now I think I'll go get me some olives, still over an hour before dinner...


M

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I think that if I were on a desert island, that olives would be on one of my "must have" lists. That, dried pasta and garlic.

I too have never met an olive I haven't liked -- except for the canned black ones or pimento stuffed green ones, but those aren't real olives anyway, so they don't count.

My faves: kalamata (for puttanesca, and other pasta sauces in that vein), oil-cured, Moroccan, and picholine.

Hokay, time to get home so I can cook dinner (yep, you guessed it, I'm still at the office).

SA

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I probably have as many varieties of olives in my pantry as I do preserves. I love the little niçoise olives from Nyon (I think), small black ones. They sell a nice (though expensive) jar at Pan Quotidian. The ChefShop has a good variety of cured, flavored and otherwise different olives. I find it hard to resist the olive department at Fairway. Ham sandwiches don't taste as good without a handul of olives scattered about the plate. One of my favorite olivees is the one at the bottom of a chiiled Bombay Martini! :wub:

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My favorite olive spread consists of green olives (1 LB) with EVOO (1/3 cup), juice of one lemon, five garlic cloves and a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

I must try that.

For me, pizza is not pizza without black olives.

I add lechin olives to chicken cacciatore. They are very sturdy. They hold up to the stewing and add saltiness and a nice bite that work well with the sweetness of the tomato. That would be good now if it wasn't so blasted hot.

I make tubes of gorgonzola wrapped with prosciutto and stuff green olives with them. They work well on their own, in salads, or in martinis (Bombay Sapphire, please).

I also make a chopped olive accompaniment (black & green) with roasted garlic, and roasted red pepper that I marinate in apple cider before adding to the mixture. I use it for muffulettas.

Did I mention that I love olives?

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Olives are one of my favorite things. I've never met an olive I didn't like (including those in jars and cans). My favorite olives (from our grocery store open olive bar featuring 15 or so varieties) listed in order of deliciousness: Cerignola (large green- fantastic), Catalan (green olives spiced in curry & celery), picholene & nicoise. Occasionally I'll get olives stuffed with garlic, almond, or anchovy. For cooking, I buy kalamata.

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My favorite olive spread consists of green olives (1 LB) with EVOO (1/3 cup), juice of one lemon, five garlic cloves and a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

I must try that.

For me, pizza is not pizza without black olives.

I add lechin olives to chicken cacciatore. They are very sturdy. They hold up to the stewing and add saltiness and a nice bite that work well with the sweetness of the tomato. That would be good now if it wasn't so blasted hot.

I make tubes of gorgonzola wrapped with prosciutto and stuff green olives with them. They work well on their own, in salads, or in martinis (Bombay Sapphire, please).

I also make a chopped olive accompaniment (black & green) with roasted garlic, and roasted red pepper that I marinate in apple cider before adding to the mixture. I use it for muffulettas.

Did I mention that I love olives?

Hi there Aurora!

I was wondering if you have ever tried hondrelia olives. They are Greek, and a copper toned large olive with a very fruity taste.

At Dean & Deluca in St. Helena, there is an Olive bar that is on the charcuterie side of the cheese department! You must go, see, and try! :biggrin: From Picholine to Niciose, and a spicy Spanish Catalan olive, the assortment will keep you on your toes :biggrin:

Enjoy,

Chez Kristyon ( Maison)

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I was wondering if you have ever tried hondrelia olives.  They are Greek, and a copper toned large olive with a very fruity taste.

I have never tried hodrelia olives, but I will be looking for them. You must go and look for hojiblancas. They have a buttery, avocado flavor. We will compare notes.

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Yep, I'd like to join the growing band of olive freaks in this thread. I love 'em all, but specially Italian olives. In my local Italian restaurant, they put Grissini, home-made potato crisps (chips) and a bowl of green olives on the table when you sit down. When I go in, they just put out two or three bowls of olives (black and green) and a large empty bowl for me to put the stones in. I guess I eat 20 or so before every meal. They 'dress' them differently every time I go, but one of my favorites is olive oil, garlic and thyme.

I never order a pizza without asking for olives to be added. I rarely order pasta without asking for olives to be added.

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I love olives in most of their many guises, especially those stuffed with either almonds or anchovies. My wife doesn't like them, which means that there are more for me!

I particularly enjoy olives with a glass of Noilly Prat or Manzanilla while lazing around.

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Olives are the only thing I can't eat :shock:

Just their smell make me sick :wacko:


Patrice Demers

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I too love olives. My mum does as well, and craved them during pregnancy, which may explain why I've been a happy olive-muncher since I grew teeth. My partner, on the other hand, does NOT like olives. All of my attempts at changing his opinion have, at best, convinced him that they're sort-of okay as long as they're cooked in a dish with lots of comphensating sweet flavours.

Interestingly, he also doesn't like lime pickle, which I've come to love. Could it be that olives are representative of a particular strong salty-bitter flavour combo that people either love or hate? By identifying the olive-lovers, can you also generally pick out the people who like blue cheeses, lime pickle and preserved lemon?

Miss J

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Is there an olive pie?  Jin?

Sure. Of course black olive pizzas. But also spinach, feta, and olive pie.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Mushrooms and olives. My favorite main dish that showcases olives is pasta with mushrooms and black olive sauce (a lot of roasted mushrooms and a lot of olives) by Mario.

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By identifying the olive-lovers, can you also generally pick out the people who like blue cheeses, lime pickle and preserved lemon?

Miss J

I love all the above.

I remember being repulsed by black olives as a child. It wasn't until I was about 20 years old that I screwed up all my courage and forced myself to eat one. I've been making up for lost time ever since. No one has mentioned tapenade -- a salty black olive, capers and anchovy spread that good on bread, with hard-boiled eggs and raw vegetables. A dab always enlivens the hors d'oeuvres assortment.

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Oh how I love egullet!! It's so wonderful to read posts from people who love the foods I love too. Makes me feel full o love! O live!

Ok lame sorry.

I couldn't live without olives!

Jalapeno stuffed olives are my absolute favorite. I love them in very cold vodka martinis or just to eat. I even have a martini glass set with little olives all over them - the set has a beautiful little glass bowl with short nubby feet to serve olives in.

I love to go to Central Market here in Austin just to buy new kinds of olives.

Supreme Olive Joy!!

Cindy G.


Cindy G

“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.”

~ Doug Larson ~

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Cindy, I loved your post! Please tell more about the jalapeno stuffed olives. Do you buy them already stuffed, or is this something you do yourself? I don't believe I've seen that combo before, and would love to try it. (and are the jalapeno's roasted, pickled, or fresh?).

I also like to pour myself a little vodka just out of the freezer and load it up with olives! Of course it's the olives I like best, but the ice cold vodka is pretty good too (in small quantity).

I just had a flashback... my mom used to set out relish trays on the dinner table at our holiday meals, and before we would sit down to eat, the olives would already be gone. (and those were even the canned black ones!).

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Blue Heron - Thanks! You should be able to buy jalapeno stuff olives anywhere. They come in glass jars. Sometimes I have to find them in the "bar mixer" section of the grocery store. They're mixed in with the sun-dried tomato stuffed olives and the almond stuffed olives (ick!).

I don't know if the jalapenos are pickled - but they give the vodka a nice hot flavor - wooh! I have even bought them at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Those were in a jar with beautiful packaging - viva marketing!

Your olive dinner story reminded me of dinners with my huge extended family. When my son was 5-7 we would get togther with my parents and brothers & sisters and all their children. My Mom would put out a big bowl of black olives and all the kids would put olives on their fingers (ok all the kids even the big kids) would eat olives off our fingers. Very very fun!


Cindy G

“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.”

~ Doug Larson ~

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Thanks Cindy, I'll look for those, and definitely try them out in the ice cold vodka next time, too.

And for the olives on the fingers... ha, I had forgotten about that! :smile:

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Slowly but surely Im workin my way through the olives at Sahadi Importers http://www.sahadis.com they have damn near two dozen kinds, and also Preserved Lemons and capers in bulk.

Im a calamata junkie myself in terms of general addition to food like pasta sauce and tuna salad.

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I eat them like candy.But here in the rural midwest it's impossible to find any variety or even a secure supply (except for the awful California varieties, but as someone in this thread said, they don't count).

I'm reading Margaret Visser's Much Depends on Dinner, and I found the following great quote there:

"Lawrence Durrell writes in Prospero's Cell that olives have "A taste older than meat, older than wine. A taste as old as cold water.""

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