Today the recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group are Herbed Olives. A wonderful Mediterranean “Starter and Nibbler”!
Olives are the small oval fruit of the olive tree, widely cultivated in Mediterranean countries such as Spain, Italy, France and Greece. Olives are harvested and preserved in oil or brine at various stages of their development. The early olives are green, while the later, more mature olives are black, but there are hundreds of varieties and more shades of color in between.
The Kalamata olives are rich purple, almond-shaped olives grown in southern Greece. Spanish green olives, on the other hand, have a milder flavor but because of their large size, they are often stuffed with anchovies or almonds. The whole fruit is available in a variety of guises, they can be flavored, stuffed, stoned or with stones, in oil or in brine, sliced or whole. You should always try to experiment with different varieties until you find a favorite.
The fleshy pulp of the fruit is also the source of olive oil. They are used a great deal in Mediterranean cuisine, as hors d’oeuvres, in salads, stuffings, sauces or dips such as “Tapenade” and as an ingredient in main dishes. Salads typically made with Olives are “Salade Nicoise” and “Greek Salad”.
Today´s recipe calls for adding wonderful herbs and lightly toasted spices to a really good-quality extra virgin olive oil together with the best olives that you can find (I chose dark purple Kalamata and big green Spanish olives).
The list of herbs calls for rosemary, thyme and bay leaves (all three herbs are still growing strong in the garden)…
…and dried red chilies….
Then for the spices there is black peppercorns and whole coriander…
…and whole fennel seeds.
You will also have to add some salt to the dressing (I used coarse French sea salt) before you pour it over the olives and leave to marinate.
In addition to the Herbed Olives I decided to prepare another one of Dorie´s recipes from "Around my French Table" , namely, Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts. I used skin-on whole almonds and added some more of the fresh rosemary and the thyme. And just like the Herbed Olives, the Cocktail Nuts were very well received and simply delicious!
So go ahead and try this recipe for Herbed Olives (and the Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts) and serve them in the nicest dish that you can find - you will not regret it!
The longer you leave the Herbed Olives in the mediterranean marinade, the better they will taste, so you can prepare this "Starter & Nibbler" well in advance and keep the marinated olives in a Weck jar or other type of canning jar.
To see how the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group prepared the Herbed Olives, please click here.