|Olives in Andalusian Marinade|
In one of my market adventures last fall, I found some fresh olives. I was super excited and my mind started racing. I was of course ambitious, telling myself that I will press them into olive oil. In these times of mislabeled and adulterated imported olive oil, it’s even more important that I should make my olive oil from scratch (I was thinking this with my chest all puffed-up). And this will do until Georgia Olive Farms is ready to harvest their olives and make it available in the market. Only then can I say that my olive oil is local-- east of the Mississippi local.
I got home with my big bag of olives and I started reading on do-it-yourself olive oil and well, I decided I didn’t want to do it – too messy and too much work. Plan B – brined/cured olives. The process is longer, but less intense that pressing olive oil.
Curing the Olives
From what I’ve read, there are three ways to cure olives: lye based, water based and brine based. I decided to go with water.
|Water-cured olives ready for marinating|
Wash the olives. Inspect each one and make sure the olives are not bruised. Break the fruit with a mallet or a rolling pin, being mindful that you don’t tear the flesh. Keep the shape as much as possible. You can also slice the olive (that’s what I did).
Place the olives in a jar and cover with cold water, making sure all them bad boys are submerged. You might want to weight it down with something. I used some cheesecloth. Refrigerate. Change the water twice a day for 5-7 weeks, or until the bitterness is gone. You can start testing on the 5th week. After that, you are ready to marinate.
Marinating the Cured Olives
This is an Andalusian recipe that I got from the internet. The spices and herbs made sense to me so here goes-
1 lb of cured olives
1 1/2 cups of red wine vinegar
3 T rock salt
1-2 good slices of lemon
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 t coriander seeds, crushed (optional)
1/2 t ground cumin
2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t fennel seeds
1/4 t rosemary
1/2 t marjoram
1/2 t sage (optional)
1/4 t black pepper
1/2-inch pc. dried red chile pepper, seeded
2 T olive oil
Wash the cured olives with cold water. Transfer to a jar; make sure there’s at least 2 inch head space on the top.
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat it up until the salt dissolves. Let it cool to room temperature. Pour vinegar mixture, making sure that all the olives are submerged. Secure the lid and place it in refrigerator. The marinating process takes 3 months, but the longer they are marinated, the better they taste.