Olives need no introduction….nonetheless….
Many moons ago, I had the privilege of sitting under the shade of an enormous and ancient olive tree, near the banks of the Gardon River in the south of France. It was here that I started making mental notes on all the attributes of this wonderful plant. Throughout the centuries, the humble olive has provided us with fruit, and a multitude of uses for olive oil both for cooking and cosmetic use,not to mention the benefits of olive leaf extract. Olive wood it both beautiful and practical, and olive trees have featured in many-an-art-work from artists like Van Gough and Dali.
It’s wonderful that the fruits of this wonderful tree are so readily available to us, and that they are becoming a staple in Australian food culture, with olive groves popping up in our farmlands, and Aussie grown fruit and oil showing an increasing presence on our supermarket shelves.
Olives are a nutritious fruit….the only thing to be weary of is the salt content. When using olives cured in brine, I pour out the brine and refill the jar with fresh water, leaving it in the fridge overnight. Problem solved.
Here is a simple recipe that works well with guests, or as a nice little treat on home-movie-night.
You will need:
3 jars olives in brine (I used kalamata, green olives and black olives)
Rind of 1 lemon (preferably unwaxed)
3-4 bay leaves (preferably fresh)
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 tbs oregano
2-3 tbs red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
3-4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Drain each jar of olives and refill with fresh water. Leave in the fridge overnight, or for a few days if you wish. This step is not essential, but it will eliminate some of the salt, and produce sweeter tasting olives.
Drain the olives and combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Leave them to marinate overnight. These can be prepared several days in advance. Simply remove the lemon rind after the first 24 hours as its flavour can become overpowering.
Serve with fresh ciabatta bread, or just on their own.