I love picnics. It is that time of the year when we move our feasts to the great outdoors. One of my favorite picnic items is marinated olives. They are easy to season and bursting with flavor.
Great ingredients are key to any recipe, and olives are no exception. For today’s recipe I prefer Spanish green olives, also known as Manzanillas, which translates as ‘little apples’. They have firm textured meat with a delicate almond flavor and are slightly smoky in taste.
Observing the Olive
Olives come in basically two common forms, green and black. Their color doesn’t indicate variety but rather level of ripeness. Green olives are simply under ripe and have a much more intense flavor than their mellow black cousins which are fully ripened.
Olives promote good health because they have excellent nutritional qualities and are easy to digest because of their fiber content. They contain anti-oxidants, healthy monounsaturated fats, Vitamin E and beneficial minerals. There are roughly 42 calories in ten green olives.
Tip of the Day
I like to keep lots of jars of olives in my pantry but I sometimes have a tough time opening the jar. I am a sucker for gadgets that make life easier and actually work, and this Zyliss StrongBoy Jar Opener is no exception.
It adjusts to most jars with a simple turn of the handle. No more banging the lid against the counter top or wedging a lid open with a knife for me. I am familiar with Zyliss’ can openers, so it is no surprise why this gadget works so well.
I have been making these marinated olives for a couple of years and they have become a sought-after standby at parties and picnics. While I love authentic olives from Seville (try Ybarra Piquillo Pepper Stuffed Manzanilla Olives), any green or black olive will work.
- 4 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
- 5 strips lemon zest
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- ½ cup lemon juice (I have also used lime)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin Spanish olive oil
- 2 cups Spanish green olives, drained from brine
- 2 ounces of Manchego cheese, cubed
- Combine rosemary, lemon zest, garlic, peppercorns, lemon juice and oil in a medium sized bowl. Stir until mixed.
- Add olives and cheese and toss until coated.
- Marinate for at least 3 hours.
A Little Olive Humor
Fun Facts About Olives
- The olive tree is known around the world as a symbol of peace and tranquility.
- The olive branch appears on the national flags of seven nations, four U.S. States and the flag of the United Nations.
- On average, an olive tree can live between 300 and 600 years. Ancient cultivation of the olive took decades to bear fruit, so it was rumored that anyone who planted olive trees was expecting a long and peaceful life.
I think I am going to go plant a couple of olive trees right now.
…and then, she paused 4 thought.