Do you have an olive tree? And, if so, do you know what to do with the olives? We do. And we didn’t.
I consulted the internet, and I got a lot of sites explaining how to cure the olives in brine – not too onerous a task, but it takes days (See the excellent blog, Tales of a Kitchen). I was beginning to lose heart when a knowing local told me that none of that was necessary.
“All you need to do,” he said (in Italian), “is put them in a bowl and cover them with salt. Then you leave them for twenty minutes. You don’t need to cut or prick them.
After that you rinse them, and put them in a frying pan with a little vinegar. Cover them. Cook them gently for twenty minutes. That’s it!”
He then kept them in the fridge, he explained, and ate them like sweets…. Well, not exactly sweets, (this said with a mild grimace) as they are quite sour, but, he told us, he liked that kind of sourness.
So we tried it!
We were busy, and forgot the olives in their salt, so we left them overnight.
We used sherry vinegar (which gives a little added, much needed, sweetness and stickiness), and we added a bruised clove of garlic and some herbs – bay, myrtle, rosemary – to the pan.
But essentially the method was the same.
Not bad….. but, yes, sour in a sort of good way. As good as good quality bought, and worth the effort? No.
For a much more useful technique involving olives go to the post, Is Your Beloved A Wild Animal?
This explains how to transform horrible, but usefully pitted, tinned black olives in brine into gorgeous, generous olive oil-soaked, herb-infused wonders.
And finally – listen to two lovely songs about harvesting olives: