Friday, September 25, 2009

Mediterranean Spiced Olives

For centuries olives have been celebrated by many cultures. Either cooked in recipes or eaten as a snack - olives are a great source of monounsaturated fat and a good source of iron, vitamin E, copper and dietary fiber. A one cup serving contains about 155 calories.

Here is an easy way to spice up store bought olives by adding flavors of the mediterranean.

Mediterranean Spiced Olives

For the olives:

1 cup mixed olives
6 thin round slices lemon
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon herbs of Provence
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole mixed peppercorns
4 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

To assemble:

Place 3 of the lemon slices in a 2 cup glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Add the olives, fennel seeds, herbs of Provence, bay leaf, peppercorns, garlic, red pepper flakes and the remaining 3 lemon slices. Slowly pour in the olive oil making sure to completely cover all the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 2 weeks.

To serve:

Bring to room temperature and serve with cheese and crusty bread.

The leftover oil is wonderful used in a vinaigrette for salads, drizzled over poached fish or tossed with steamed vegetables.


John Ettorre said...

Boy, does that top photo look enticing. It reminds me of how turned off I was by these kinds of olives as a kid, but how much I enjoy them now. Like so much else in Italian culture, the early exposure we got to it echoes on for the rest of our lives.

LIVE TO EAT said...

That is so true, John. My early exposure to food, as well as much about life, was courtesy of my grandfather. He was a major influence from childhood to this day.

It was crushing when he died in 1989, yet I use his teachings every day. It feels wonderful.

EB of SpiceDish said...

What type of olives do you begin with? They look lovely.

LIVE TO EAT said...

Nice to hear from you, Erin,

I start with a variety of my favorite olives, which in this case are a mix of: Gaeta, Kalamata, Mt. Athos Green, Nicoise, Oil Cured and Picholine. However any olive, or olive mixture, will work here. And feel free to change the spices to suit your taste and menu.

John Ettorre said...

Grandparents are sacred in just about every culture, but for Italians, that reverence is on an even deeper level. We absorb their lessons and their love immediately and fully, whereas we tend to shun our parents' teaching until we're adults ourselves.

LIVE TO EAT said...

I fully agree, John.

Although I was a respectful, well behaved child for my loving hands-on parents, it was my mothers parents ( Nonna and Nonno ) I never risked disappointing. I spent a great deal of time with them and appreciated every moment. They were a complete joy.

John Ettorre said...

I was lucky enough to have both an American grandparent (my mom's mom) close at hand, as well as my dad's parents, who lived in Italy. Nothing quite like the real deal in a Nonna and Nonno. On the other hand, that of course meant I didn't get to see as much of them. But what it lacked in regularity, it surely made up for in quality. They were so wonderful that it makes my teeth hurt just to think about how much I miss them now that they've passed.

LIVE TO EAT said...

Thank you for sharing you loving memories, John.

Not only can it make my teeth hurt, it can bring tears to my eyes. We will have much to discuss and reminisce at dinner, John. It promises to be a fulfilling visit.

John Ettorre said...

Boy, you said it.