Sunday, February 19, 2012

Morrocan Olives

This is one of those recipes that is made to be shared.  I first had it as a table snack during a class as Pantry at Delancey.  When I got home I had to e-mail to ask "how did you do that?"  Today I hosted a very special party for a very special occasion: to celebrate the first grandchild in our group.  To welcome the beautiful Kesler, my dear friend Nancy's grandson.  I put a bowl of these out.  Didn't say anyting just curiously watched the reaction.  And it was good.

These look like just regular olives.  But they have such a wonderful, unique taste.  "Apple pie"  "Pear pie" they said.  The olives are flavored with lemon, cinnamon and fennel seed.  Try them.  You will like them.  And you will be asked for the recipe, I guarantee it.

When I asked Delancey's they said "we have no recipe, but this is how it's done."  There were no amounts, just ingredients and process.  So this is how I will pass it along to you as well.

First, pick the right kind of olives.  Get good Sicilian olives.  Big, plump, spring colored green ones.  Ask for a tasting.  You want the mildest, butteriest ones.  I buy mine at PFI in Seattle, near the Kingdome.  If you don't know of this place find it.  All the great chefs shop for bulk goods at this small, unassuming, warehouse.  Bring your own containers so you can get the brine with the olives.  They have at least 20 kinds to choose from.  I forget which kind these were but ask to taste the Sicilian greens.  This is the mild, buttery one.  You'll know it when you taste it.  At PFI you can only buy by the pound.  But since you bring with the brine they will last for a long time.  And who doesn't want a good container of olives in the fridge.  (By the way, PFI has the most beautiful cheese selection, but you also have to buy by the pound as well.  I also buy all my spices, bulk, and flours, pulses, rice, etc. at PFI.  Best deal in town.  Oh, they have an amazing selection of sea salts as well.  And olive oil and vinegars.  Just go there.  Mapquest it.  It's hidden at the bottom of that brick building Mapquest takes you to. )

  • Good quality Sicilian olives
  • 1 Meyer lemon
  • 3-5 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 Tablespoon fennel seeds
  • Good quality olive oil (Trader Joe's works fine for this)
Pour olive oil in a sauce pan  You will want just enough to cover the olives.  Crack the cinnamon sticks (leaving them more or less whole but broken to release the flavor) and put in oil along with the fennel seeds.  Slice the lemon and throw in (skin, seeds and all). 

Heat the oil to hot but not boiling.  Let it heat and infuse for about five minutes.  Then add the olives.  Leave on the heat for another ten or fifteen minutes, hot, but not boiling.  The lemon will decompose from the inside out, leaving large pieces of skin.  Remove from heat and let cool down.  Put in air tight container.  When serving use slotted spoon to dish out of the oil (but reserve in the airtight container so you can return any unused ones for enjoying later.  Put some of the lemon and cinnamon in the dish as well (it's so pretty).  Store in refrigerator with the infused oil and lemons and cinnamon. 

Collect everyone's email addresses, or friend them on FB.  They will want the recipe.  Really.  Trust me. 

1 comment:

KelleyM said...

Beautiful pictures, beautiful writing, wonderful story! I want to make these, and I want to go to PFI... must plan a field trip.