Those trips to the city were infrequent, but eventually, deli counters at local grocery stores near our home began to sell that wonderful olive salad. Unfortunately, something had been lost in the translation...the flavors were not exactly the ones I remembered.
One day, after a particularly disappointing olive salad had been purchased and rejected, I decided to make my own salad; after all…how hard could it be…there was no cooking involved in this recipe. Because my mother had never made this salad, the internet did not yet exist and our local library offered no help, I was on my own.
Ingredients that I remembered from those wonderful salads of my childhood were combined and allowed to marinate. Finally, I lifted the lid from the olive container..the fragrance was amazing and very famliar... a taste of the olives told me that I had hit the mark!
I love this tasty dish…the combination of herbs, oil and olives will fill your kitchen with a bouquet of fragrant aromas…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
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.