Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Recipe: Marinated Moroccan Olives

Moroccan Olives Part V


Marinated Moroccan Olives

by Victoria Challancin

Gifts. Recipes are gifts. Given from the heart, shared with enthusiasm, prepared with hope.

Whenever I travel, I constantly seek out recipes. I ask friends, waiters, fellow diners, and people I meet along the way to help me understand what I am eating and enjoying. Whenever I encounter something I want to duplicate, I sample, I imagine, I sample again, I make notes, I smell, I make more notes, and then, only then, once I understand the flavors, do I try to sort out the process of preparing it. And I ask questions, lots of questions.

The following recipe is a compilation based on those very notes about marinated olives taken on a trip to Morocco last November. I use this as a rough basis, adding and subtracting according to whim and availability of ingredients. Use the best olives you can find--the rest of the recipe is flexible. Enjoy!

Marinated Moroccan Olives
(Recipe by Victoria Challancin, with a little help from her friends)

1 cup green olives
1 cup black olives, preferably imported oil-cured
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed
2 bay leaves
2 to 4 dried red chiles, such as chile de árbol
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons lemon juice of juice from jar of preserved lemons
3 tablespoons preserved Moroccan lemon, if available, or use fresh
lemon zest
Two sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme

Rinse olives, pat dry, and put into a mixing bowl.

Place cumin seeds, crushed coriander seeds (smash with a skillet or in a mortar), bay leaves, and dry chiles in a small dry skillet. Toast until fragrant over medium heat for about 45 seconds. Add to olives in bowl.

Add oil to skillet. Heat over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Add garlic. Sauté for 1 minute to soften. Do not brown. Add rosemary or thyme. Stir for 30 seconds. Add to olives in bowl.

Add lemon juice and preserved lemons (if using) to olives. Mix thoroughly. Store in refrigerator for up to one month. Serve at room temperature.

Note: Use imported olives with pits if possible, not canned. If you don’t have access to preserved lemon, add strips of fresh lemon zest.

Variations:

Moroccan: Add a big dollop of homemade harissa just before serving. Or perhaps warm a few tablespoons of Ras el Hanout in the oil instead of the spices listed in the recipe. Toss with a little chopped cilantro.

French: Anchovies and dried lavender blossoms would make an intriguing mix. Skip the preserved lemon, but add a few orange and lemon slices.

Italian: Add sun-dried tomatoes and rosemary. Use fresh lemon slices instead of preserved lemon.

Spanish: The addition of smoked paprika and toasted almonds would make a perfect tapa. Skip the preserved lemon.

Egyptian: Add a few tablespoons of dukkah and a handful of toasted, peeled hazelnuts.


Interested in visiting Morocco?
Contact me at flavorsofthesun@gmail.com for details of my next small-group tour of Morocco in October of 2009.

Weekend Herb Blogging

I am submitting this post to the Weekend Herb Blogging event, begun by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen and now officiated by Haalo of Cook Almost Anything at Least Once. The hostess this week is Susan, of the wonderful blog, The Well-Seasoned Cook. Check it out for this week's results.

1 comment:

Susan said...

I'd be thrilled to receive a jar of these spectacular olives as a gift. First rate!

Thank you for being part of WHB!