Monday, October 24, 2011

2-10. Diane's Italian Green-Olive Salad (G, V)

    I loved it when my dad drove our family to the Italian district in Chicago. Mother would stand at the counter and pick out things like provolone cheese, cannoli and prosciutto.
   Italian olive salad was also always on her list. The savory flavors of olive salad companioned with crusty breads, thick sandwiches or a variety of meats was a taste-bud delight.

   While trips to the city were infrequent, deli counters at local grocery stores began to sell similar Italian olive salads. Unfortunately, the flavors were not exactly the ones I remembered.

   If necessity is the mother of invention, I felt inspired and took on the challenge to figure out how to make my own version of Italian Olive Salad.

  I combined ingredients as I remembered them and allowed the salad to marinate. When I lifted the lid  from the olive container the fragrance was amazingly familiar and a taste of the olives told me that I had hit the mark! 

   This combination of herbs and olives will fill your kitchen with a bouquet of fragrant aroma just like the Italian delis of my childhood.

Diane’s Italian Green-Olive Salad

2 C large whole green olives, with pits (smaller olives may be used), drained - reserve liquid
2-3 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
Olive oil, extra virgin
Pepper blend

Put olives in a plastic bag and crush, (whack), them with a rolling pin or board. The olives should be slightly split. Pour crushed olives into a bowl and mix in about 1/4 C olive oil, 1/4 C reserved olive liquid, the celery and garlic. Mix well. Add pepper blend, dried basil and oregano to taste. (It is better to add less seasoning…more can be added later if necessary). Mix well. Pour into a container with a lid. Refrigerate. Periodically, rotate  or shake container so mixture is well coated with the oil and seasonings. If oil congeals, let salad sit out at room temperature for a few hours. Marinate olive mixture for 3 days before eating.

(Be mindful of the pits!)

This salad is wonderful as a side dish with sandwiches, chicken, or with a fresh piece of crusty, bread. The flavored olive-marinade is to-die-for!

*Note: The salad pictured above was made with small olives. Here in the Ozarks, large green olives with pits are impossible to find. I had to buy the pictured olives in the St. Louis area. They taste the same as larger olives, but the salad is more satisfying to eat if jumbo-sized olives are used. Pitted olives do not taste the same.

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