The use of olives
The use of olives
If you don’t like olives, you may have never tried the really good kind from the Mediterranean. I don’t mean those green, pimiento-stuffed “Spanish” olives (really from California) that are better off in somebody’s martini. I mean small French picholines or niçoise olives, plump kalamata olives from Greece, Spanish Arbequina olives, salt-cured olives from North Africa . . . and that’s just the beginning. Olives have such an intense flavor that you only need a few to feel like you’ve really tasted something. Fortunately, most grocery store delis offer a variety of good Mediterranean olives.
The best way to get to know olives is to try them. Pick up a jar of assorted olives the next time you are at the market, or get several small containers of different kinds. Be careful of the pits! Most Mediterranean olives still have them, but they are easy to remove. Just whack the olive with the flat side of a chef’s knife, then pop out the pit with your fingers. Each type of olive has its unique taste, texture, and color. Learn to appreciate olives, and you’ll have a new ingredient to incorporate into your cooking. You’ll also have a quick snack to wake up your palate.
Some people may worry about the high fat content of olives, but this is no more of a concern than the fat content of olive oil. Olives are part of the Mediterranean diet that results in better health and lower weight: Mediterranean olives have such intense flavor that just a few are satisfying. Plus, they contain the same heart-healthy oil as olive oil (you’ll learn all about this in chapter 4), so eating olives is just one more way to make olive oil the primary source of fat in your diet. Snacking on a few olives is like snacking on a handful of nuts: they are filling and satisfying. So enjoy those savory olives!
Another way to enjoy olives is to add them to a salad. Combine fresh greens, a handful of olives, a handful of fresh al. Where I Come From monds, some chopped fresh tomatoes, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. That should take care of your hunger pangs.