citrus herb marinated olives

when i was a kid, olives came in a metal can, were matte black, and tasted like bitter metallic salt – i couldn’t understand why anyone would want to eat them and i was even more mystified when i tasted olive oil and liked how it tasted

fast forward to about 5 years ago when i found myself in a greek orthodox monastary at lunch time – the nuns had prepared lunch of fish (which i love) and potatoes (which i love) served with bread (which i don’t really eat, but this bread is fucking amazing so i eat it) and kalamata olives – i remember staring at the olives – it was totally optional to take any but i muttered to myself “when in a greek orthodox monastary . . . ” and took a spoonful of the shiny black olives – they were all slightly different in shape and size with a nice little point on one end – nothing at all like olives from when i was kid (what kind of olives were those?!)

the olives were amzing and i realized i had been missing out – i had seen all different kinds of olives and all kinds of food with different kinds of olives so i knew intellectually there were all sorts of olives but i thought they would all taste like the shitty black olives – i went back for more olives that day, and that is where my new love affair with olives started

a month or so agp, i stopped in at the westside market near me and saw they had citrus herb marinated olives which sounded fantastic and were delicious – the same salty taste, firm to the bite and velvety as you chew but with some citrus zest (definitely lemon) and some herbs – i forget which, but they were small and green – clearly dried thyme or something along those lines – anyway, i thought it would be nice to try to make my own citrus and herb marinated olives – i just did this earlier today, so i haven’t tried them yet (i want them to marinate for a day before checking them out)

here’s how i made them – i’ll update you on how they taste and what i might do differently (if anything)

first, gather your ingredients and tools – olives, whatever citrust you want (i used lemon and blood orange), some dried herbs (i used oregano, thyme, and tarragon – i haven’t tried fresh herbs, but they might be something i try if these go well) – also, a zester or microplane if you have one and citrus juicer if you have one

next, zest the citrus – i used my microplane and zested the citrus – if you don’t have a zester or microplane, you could either use a grater or even a knife – just be careful of your fingers as you slice off just the colored rind – try to avoid getting too much of the bitter white pith – the great thing about the zest is that it contains lots of the oils that will impart flavor, but you might not like having the little bits of firm chewy zest in your olives, so you could always skip this step

after that, i added the zest to the olives and then added 1/2 teaspoon each of tarragon, thyme, and oregano – this might end up being a lot, but i guess we shall see! i also added the juice of half the blood orange and the whole lemon.

the last thing i did was use a spoon to start mixing up the ingredients a little bit, then i put the lid on them and shook the heck out of them – i put them in the fridge a few hours ago, and i give them a shake every time i open it to get some water or soemthing – i’ll give them a taste tomorrow

once they are ready, assuming i enjoy how they taste, i’ll enjoy them a few ways – i like to eat them plain, or chop them up and use them in a salad with some mustard and vinegar instaed of any kind of dressing, or i might use them in a cold tuna and potato salad in place of any oil or mayo

what would you use them for? give me some new ideas! or tell me if you’ve made any of your own marinated olives

(UPDATE JANUARY 11) – the olives taste amazing – i’ve had them by themselves and added to a salad – by themselves, the lemon is just a touch strong – i would probably add the other half of the blood orange to even it out, or i might just do half a lemon – the herbs are perfectly balanced: you know they’re there but they blend well – when i added them to my salad, the lemon was perfect and definitely added to the overall flavor of the salad

next time, i might try grapefruit juice/zest – i probably would avoid lime but i might also consider clementine and possibly even consider just one herb – probably thyme – hmmmmm grapefruit thyme could be really yummy

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