olives, of all kinds

olives!

Oh lord, I love olives.

The story in my family goes like this: the first time my father babysat me by himself, my mother came home to find me covered in hives. Why? Apparently, when my father wasn’t watching me, I toddled into the kitchen (was I 18 months old? 2 years old? Mom, help me out), found a jar of olives, and ate them all, one after the other. I’m sure that I had not yet been exposed to brines and spices, and my skin exploded with the overload. But it never turned me off olives. Whenever I think about this image — little Shauna eating an entire jar of olives in one sitting — I think, “Yep. That’s just about right.”

The flesh on Lucques olives clings close to the pit, as though suction cupped there, and the greenness dares to be eaten. “You want some of this? You’re going to have to work at it.”

Every Thanksgiving of my growing-up years, we waited for the lavish feast to appear on the table. The antipasti, if you will, of the meal? A bowl full of green olives, almost suck-puckery with vinegar and salt, stuffed with red pimentos. By the time I hit eight, it was my job to mound the olives in a brown Pfalzgraff bowl and place them in the middle of the table. Two (or twelve) might have never made it into the bowl. We all stared at them hungrily, even though much greater bounty surrounded us.

Do you remember the opening of Amelie, where the little girl plucks one fat red raspberry after another off each of her fingers, until her cheeks bulge with a mouth full of fruit? Well, replace the raspberries with Libby jumbo black olives from a can, and you have me in the afternoons after swimming in the pool.

There’s something green-tasting about great olives, even a bit pungent (a touch of paint thinner? warmed vinegar? a little acidic slip down the back of the throat?). The flesh gives, the olive falls apart, soon it’s just a faint after-memory in the mouth. But the taste never leaves me.

A few weeks ago, the Chef and I were driving toward a cooking class we were going to teach that night. Rain slathered down on the windshield, cars honked in brute frustration, and we were going nowhere on 405-South. Suddenly hungry, I told the Chef we’d have to grab a snack at the store before we began prepping for the class. He grinned his sly grin, and reached down for the floor. Up came a white take-out box from the restaurant. Inside, a snack he had packed for the two of us. Thick slabs of Drunken Goat cheese, and latherings of the olive tapenade he had just created for the new menu: thick bits of ten different kinds of olives, a touch of lemon, a hint of garlic. Who needed crackers? He smeared each piece of cheese with tapenade for me, and then handed it to me when I needed more. I stopped worrying about the traffic.

I’ve come to love Cerignola olives stuffed with almonds. But really, it’s hard to find an olive I don’t like.

This weekend, in Vancouver, the Chef and I ate dinner at a wonderful place called Salt Tasting Room. It’s hardly a restaurant. It’s more of a charcuterie and cheese bar, featuring local products in particular. We’re swoony about the place now. But my favorite bite — perhaps my favorite bite in weeks — involved a briny olive broken in half, juice smeared on a piece of Taleggio cheese, wrapped in a slice of paper-thin smoked beef tenderloin, and dabbed with drops of balsamic reduction sauce. Oh, mama.

Little Bean seems to want many foods these days. But olives? Every day.

I may have a hundred memories, but I always love new ideas of how to eat one of my essential food groups.

What’s your favorite kind? And how do you like to eat olives?

93 comments on “olives, of all kinds

  1. Tori

    I love olive tapenade and found my favorite way to eat it through Orangette’s site last year. Home made tapenade with fresh Heirloom tomatoes, good vinegar (have you tried Moscatel?) drizzled over the tomatoes, French sea salt and a nice olive oil.

    Slice the tomato 1/2 thick and sprinkle with sea salt, moscatel vinegar and olive oil. Spread a thin layer of tapenade over the tomato and hurry to get it to your tongue before it drips to your elbow. Sometimes a good cheese is in order. The chef had it right with the fresh goat cheese. The slight musky flavor of the cheese matches perfectly with the salty goodness of the salted tomato and tapenade.

  2. Em

    When I was a kid, whenever my mom made tacos, we had black olives. From a can: fancy stuff. So funny you mention Amelie — every time I see that opening part, I think, “hey, that’s how I used to eat olives!” And I will, next taco night. Now I love green olives (canned, but someday I’ll learn all the different kinds) on my pepperoni and mushroom pizza.

  3. Nick

    Olives! Used to hate ‘em, now I love ‘em! The only olives I dislike are the greek black olives, I can’t stand that bitter taste.

    My favorite olives are the green olives from Spain that you order as a tapa and still have the pit inside. My other favorite (I’m a little ashamed to say) are cheap canned/pitted black olives. Something about the almost creamy texture and flavor is just incredible, I’ll eat a whole can in one sitting. They’re great sliced thin and used in every mexican dish imaginable.

    But the best olive recipe is to slice up (canned) black olives and fresh tomatoes, about a 1:2 ratio, mix in a few tablespoons of olive oil and add lots of parsley and oregano. Stir it up and let it sit out, covered for a few hours for the flavors to combine. Put it on top of pasta and heat it in the microwave, then top with shredded mozzarella. That dish can’t be beat!

    - The Peanut Butter Boy

  4. Ruby

    i eat olives with my eyes closed… they have not grew on me like they have on little bean =)

  5. Kitt

    The Bean has good taste!

    I love the little nicoise olives, with a glass of pastis. Preferably in a bar in Paris, or even better the Midi.

    I also adore anchovy-stuffed olives, which surprised me the first time I had them. Anchovies, ick. Anchovies in olives, yum.

  6. Hockey Mom

    Every Thanksgiving, my sis and I would sit in a corner and eat a can of olives together. Good memories.

    A few years back I had TMJ surgery, and my jaw wired shut, over Thanksgiving. As soon as the wires came off, my sis came over with the can of olives and it was the first solid thing I put in my mouth after surgery!

    Olives equal heaven.

  7. Anonymous

    I know its not from scratch, but my fave is Barillia Green and Black Olive spaghetti sauce. The meaty bite of olive, the salty splash across my tongue.….no need for Parmasan!
    Wendy

  8. Kelley

    Normally, I’m enamored of these creative challenges. However, there are two food items I have deep, abiding disdain for, appearing first in infancy. I _hate_ bananas with a fiery passion of a thousand suns. Followed by that is my deep dislike of olives (perhaps only a hundred suns). I’m going to sit this one out.

  9. sweetpea

    Olive tapenade! We have a classic, old world italian grocery near by, they sell some of the best tapenade you’ll ever find in a jar. Better yet, they will pit any one of their hard to find olives to bring home and make yourself. While this takes a bit of fun out of the making it sure saves time. I like my tapenade with some kind of black cured olive, anchovy, tuna, garlic, caper and a splash of brandy! I love it smeared on anything I have on hand but a good cheese, well that’s the best. I also like the combination of water mellon, good black olives and feta cheese tossed together in the summer with a drizzle of good olive oil, top with a sprinkle of fresh mint, heaven! But Shauna, seriously now, I read that you need to check the brine on olives to make sure there isn’t anything suspicious. This is really hard to do in some of the smaller, ethnic groceries who sell the speciality olives. Any thoughts on this? I just can’t imagine what might be in the brine that might contain traces of gluten.

  10. melissaknits

    My secret olive story:

    My life-long love of the things was only enhanced by a giddy, giggly experience I shared with the most wonderful man I’ve ever known, next to my father.

    One evening after my kids were in bed and he’d helped me with the washing up I began to assemble the ingredients needed for chocolate chip cookies. He dug around in my fridge and found a bottle of olives and sat, watching me bake. Somehow (this was an early courtship moment, one never knows how these things begin) this degenerated into the two of us sitting at the table sucking the pimentos out of the olives and re-stuffing them with chocolate chips, and feeding them to each other.

    Our tastes today run in different directions when it comes to olives. But I will never forget silly little Spanish olives in jars from the supermarket, stuffed with chocolate chips, and served to me by fingers I cherish now more than my own.

  11. Gretchen Noelle

    I have just recently adapted to the Peruvian olives, after 5 years of hating them. I make a delicious Olive Chicken Stew which is not only satisfying, but ridiculously easy!

  12. Jenna Lee

    I have been putting a thick coat of olive tapenade (normally a simple food processor pulse of green and kalamata olives, salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil) atop filets of tilapa lately, before coating it with lemon juice, wrapping it in tinfoil and steaming it in the oven. The saltiness of the olives offsets the clean palate of the tilapa perfectly. It’s simple, and hearty, and clean, and it’s so wonderful after a long day of work beside a big hunk of cornbread slathered with butter. Mmmmmm.

  13. Adele

    My last name is “Oliver” so a love of Olives may be partly genetic! Pizza seems naked without them! But my favourite so far is…
    A mixture of green and black Olives and breadcrumbs stuffed inside fresh salmon fillets. Mmmm

  14. mindy

    mmmm, it’s only 8:30 am here, but as soon as i get off the computer i need to go open a jar of olives! your thanksgiving memory could be my own. it just isn’t thanksgiving without the pimento stuffed green olives!

  15. Christine

    Oh man, I love olives.

    Good olives, good cheese, a swirl of olive oil and a baguette and you’ve described my perfect dinner.

    As a topping for pasta: Warm olive oil in a pan. To that, throw in a palm full of chopped onion, and when golden add in a clove or two of minced garlic. Add a can of good quality Italian tuna, broken up, a palm full of chopped green olives, a tablespoon of capers and a sprinkling of lemon zest and parsley. Throw on pasta, die happy.

    OH, plus have you seen Deb’s empanadas? We eat the filling over rice or even nestled up next to a salad. Delicious.

  16. Debbie

    I’m a long-time reader (must I say lurker?), enjoyed meeting you & the chef at the TD Cookbook Social, & enjoy your blog. I’m a stuck-in-a-rut kalamata lover.
    My current fav:
    Put 1/2 cup olive oil with 16+ garlic cloves in saucepan on very low heat. ‘Roast’ on top of stove about 30 minutes or until garlic turns gold & becomes softer. Add 16+ kalamata olives drained & patted dry; cook for another couple of minutes so the olives plump a bit. Cool mixture 10 minutes. Pour over a log of goat cheese (large one-7 oz-bring to room temp). Serve with baguette slices. Sounds too simple to be so amazingly good!

  17. Tami Schu

    Shauna– I too love olives although I have yet to find a black variety I like much. I recently tried a dish which used loives in an interesting way…chicken thighs braised in orange juice with green olives and let me say, YUMMY!

    Congrats on your ‘Bean’ and best wishes to you and Chef.

    Tami Schu

  18. Anonymous

    I have childhood memories of putting the black olives on all of my fingers and eating them off one at a time. My sister used to pull the pimentos out of the green olives, just so she could pop the olives onto her fingers.

  19. jenA

    olives were at our thanksgiving table growing up — it was a tradition of mine and my aunt’s, that can of black olives that tasted tinny and salty.
    Great stuff. Now, if I can hold back from eating them straight out of the jar, I like a sandwich of torn kalamattas, cream cheese, baby spinach and raspberry vinaigrette. it’s better on a savory bread than sweet, i think.

  20. Il Fornaio

    To me, nothing is better than a simple dinner of soup, bread, a little bowl of olives (kalamata preferably), and a few slices of fresh mozzarella. For all of the delicious meals in the world, nothing makes me happier than that combination.

  21. Gina Perry

    As a little girl I enjoyed those same canned Libby black olives. My mother would put them in our summer salad but my joy was in putting them on each of my fingers and eating them off! Sadly, my fingers are just too big now for olives. Yes, I did try!

  22. michele

    although i love all olives in general. i love them as the ingredient in la brea bakery olive bread, it seems to make the bread especially moist.

  23. Sus

    my hubby is from argentina and green olives are the “special” ingredient in their empanada recipe and “pastel de papas” which is really just a shepherd’s pie w/ different spices (mainly pimenton). i think i’ll just have to make one tonight!

  24. Tiffany

    Whole Foods Sicilian-spiced olives are a flavor explosion. I could eat (and have eaten) my weight in them.

    Have you had a muffaleta? Little Bean’s love of olives and pork could make it the perfect sandwich.

  25. thisrequiresthought

    while in Spain last summer, i realized how many kinds of olives there were. Every market has barrels of them, stuffed with everything imaginable, in every shade of green, red, brown, and black.

    by the end of my olive-discovery journey, nothing would do but green olives stuffed with anchovies and coated with chopped garlic.

    we bought in plastic bags and ate them (unencumbered by cheese or crackers or anything!) while we strolled the outdoor shops.

    *sigh*

  26. Melissa

    Straight out of the jar. My favorites are almond stuffed.

    When we were little we’d put a black olive on each finger and eat one off at a time. It was almost an expected thing at a holiday dinner!

    I see olives are going to play a part in my lunch!

  27. Anonymous

    tapenades: different every time, with a different mix of olives, different citrus juice and zest and different fresh herbs. i’ve done mint and lime, orange and thyme, clementine and basil. whatever’s on hand and sounds good together. pissaladiere: salty oil cured olives and anchovies on a yeasty dough. crushed, in a chicken tagine, with prunes, chicken liver, saffron, white wine, orange juice.

  28. Ellen

    I eat Kalamata most often, but I love all sorts of olives. Recently, a friend served these delicious green olives as an appetizer. They were much more delicate tasting than green olives I’d had previously…sweeter, fresher, not as strong-tasting…and I *loved* them. Not sure what sort of olives they are…

  29. Sarah

    Olives! Olives! Olives! There are five of us in our house and we are all in love with olives. I’ll try any type of olive but I’m a simple garlic stuffed green olive girl. My husband brought home anchovy stuffed olives the other day and they were pretty good. On the road from San Francisco up to Oregon there is a store called The Olive Pit out in the middle of literally nowhere and they have huge billboards for miles. My husband and I stopped one trip (because who could resist) and for the entire 8 hour journey home I ate garlic stuffed olives. Not no good on the stomach but I still haven’t stopped loving olives.
    http://www.olivepit.com/

  30. Diane

    Plain.
    Unadulturated.
    Black.
    Olives…

    I prefer the nicoise, but really any kind are OK with me.

    Green — meh…

  31. Kevin J. Bowman

    I think the chef needs to teach classes on Romanticism as well as cooking. Seriously! I want to woo my wife the way you write about him.
    My wife is my best friend on the earth and still I just don’t think of the little things like he does (a snack for the car, BRILLIANT)

    I’ll sign up for his first class!!!

  32. kate

    My favorite way to eat olives is the stuff they smear on a muffaletta. It’s not quite a tapenade, and as I understand it, it’s all the bits that were at the bottom of the barrel after all of the whole olives had been sold.

    Rachel Ray (whether you love her or hate her…) seems to have a thing for coming up with different incarnations of typical fare, and though I’m generally in the “hate her” camp, she has a muffaletta salad recipe that makes me salivate just thinking of it. It’s basically an Italian style chopped salad, but with a focus on salty meats and cheeses, and pickled veggies and glorious chunks of olives.
    That has become my favorite way to eat olives these days.

  33. Lisa

    My favorite food is similar to yours — pickles. Oh man, I could eat pickles all day every day. My favorites are half-sour. My grandmother, who also made her own, used to buy this brand called “Ba-Tampe-Peh” (or something like that) and replace half the liquid with white vinegar for an even more vinegar-y pickle. Yum!

  34. Lisa

    Omg just realized you said “what’s your favorite kind of olive.” Oops! Thought you said favorite kind of food. Well, anyway, since I love anything salty or vinegar-y, I also love olives — my favorite would be giant olives stuffed with garlic.

  35. Wheatless Foodie

    OMG! I’ve just finished breakfast, am not the least bit hungry, but I was salivating before I reached the end of your post. Beautifully written, as usual. My favorite way…any way I can get them. I never met an olive I didn’t like!
    Cindy
    http://www.wheatlessfoodie.blogspot.com

  36. Anonymous

    My favorite olives are herbed provencal. Nothing beats a good cheese board, rice crackers, and a bowl of those gorgeous green beauties to kick off a dinner party with friends.

    I didn’t come to olives by birth, but by marriage. I was on one of my first dates with my husband, in Rome. We were at a gorgeous little wine bar near Campo dei Fiori and he ordered a bowl of mixed olives. He put the plate in front of me and said “Eat them all. By the time you’re finished you’ll like them.” So I did. And I did. Since then, we always have several varieties hanging out in our fridge at any given time. Mmm.…!

  37. Melissa

    I love them all, but I’m a sucker for big, fat green ones stuffed with bleu cheese or calamatas filled with roasted garlic. Sinful. Totally sinful. Certainly a staple of our weekly dinner parties. No dinner at our house is complete w/o cheese and olives beforehand. It simply wouldn’t be dinner!

  38. babyjenks

    i love olives. i love most kinds (but i’m afraid i don’t like the canned black ones, they taste like metal to me) but i will always remember the sandwiches my mom made for us as kids. cream cheese on toast with sliced green olives (the kind with the pimentos). a simple creamy/briney taste. these days i prefer goat cheese with my olives.

  39. nimrodiel

    I’m fond of olives in picadillo.

    There is just something satisfying about the salty tabg of the olive bits with the meat and the sweet pop of the raisins in the dish.

    The boy doesn’t care for olives, so we usually have the picadillo without, but it’s just not the same.

  40. babysteps

    yes to olives & fish!

    my DH marinates sword fish with olive tapenade & sun-dried red pepper (or tomatoes, easier to find), bake with the olive/sun-dried on top or if grilling, after turning the fish put the olive/sun-dried stuff on top of the fish & put cover on the grill.

    We did this for one of those church random-assignment dinners, results: one couple now makes this as ‘their’ swordfish (they were sweet & asked if they could); one woman to this day says “well, I never liked swordfish but that was wonderful” almost every time I see her (this was 6 yrs ago!)

  41. momchick

    I like kalamata, straight out of the bottle or container or whatever. I also love almond stuffed green olives. Yum.

  42. Callista Cassady

    I’m going to go out on a very hesitant limb from the rest of the comments so far and say I don’t like olives. When I was growing up, I loved (black) olives on pizza. I would pile them up. Then I would get sick. I blamed the olives because that was the predominate flavor. Looking back, it was the pizza crust. But olives still remind me of throwing up. :(

    Does anyone have any ideas as to how I could train myself to like olives?

    - Callista

  43. chris

    Hmmm. They’re pretty great just as they are. I remember the first time I tasted an olive that wasn’t from a can. It was amazing.

    Off topic, but I know I’m not the only one who wants a big all things pregnancy post. I mean, duala or no? Natural or not? Cravings, grouchy days, baby gear? All that great pregnant lady stuff.

  44. Allison the Meep

    Ohh, just reading this made my mouth pucker. Thinking of vinegary things always does that to me. My favorite kind of olives lately are ones from Trader Joe’s (although I’m sure you could find them anywhere) and they’re enormous green olives stuffed with a garlic clove. I have to ration them out to myself, otherwise I’d eat an entire jar in one sitting. And don’t even get me started about pickles. Gahhh.

    When I was pregnant, I wanted pickles so badly (typical pregnancy cravings? No. I just really love pickles) that when I rushed to the fridge and saw there was only an empty pickle jar, I drank the juice. I would like to say that it was a disgusting thing done in desperation, but no. It was so good. I’d do it again.

  45. Joan

    I love olives, too! And your story about the olives on your fingers made me laugh because it very well could have been MY story. There’s a running joke in my family about my “froggy fingers.” (And I’ll even admit I still do it on rare occasions when no one is looking, just for the comfort-food throwback.) I love olives straight out of the jar or can. I also love them on pizzas, in salads, as tapenade, on tacos, with pitas & cheese… the list could go on forever. Black olives are my favorite, though I won’t discriminate against any other varieties. ;-)

  46. Tanya

    I like Tabasco Brand stuffed olives. Especially the ones stuffed with garlic. Yummy! I love all kinds of picked delicacies such as capers, banana peppers, and artichoke hearts. But my favorite way to eat all this stuff is on a muffaletta. I grew up in New Orleans and real muffaletta’s are one of the foods I really missed from there when I left.

    Thanks to you I am about to bake some Teff cookies. Your description of Teff made me seek it out. Tonight I’m going to make a Moroccan stew with Teff.

  47. Anonymous

    I love Moroccan Lemon Chicken with Olives but always eat it out at a restaurant…never made it myself. Google some recipes. Certainly GF and no doubt you and/or chef can come up with an awesome version. yuuuuuuummmmmyyyy

  48. aubrey

    ooooh, i love olives too. most especially the gourmet ones stuffed with something or other. blue cheese stuffed are my current fave. and that whole eating the whole jar of olives? yep, that’s me, too.

  49. Elizabeth

    Ick. Ick ick ick. Though it’s funny that my dislike of olives comes from the same childhood event — an entire jar of green olives eaten on the way home from the store to our small Chicago apartment, at age 4 or so, I’m told.

    Though the small dark wrinkly dry– or salt-cured olives are good chopped very finely in a dish. And I’ve been known to enjoy a good tapenade, in small doses. And I love olive oil of all sorts, the fruitier the better. It’s the brine, I think, that icks me out. And the less said about green olives, no matter what they’re stuffed with, the better.

  50. Laura

    My bedtime snack as a child was a single green olive. One night while my mom was out my dad gave me a green olive before bed, it became our nightly ritual for many years.

    I wanted to name my first cat Olive but he ended being a boy so his name is Oliver.

  51. Melanie

    Fancy canned black olives…a grocery list resident. Sliced on chicken tacos; enchiladas verde; on pizza, nestled in with pineapple and pepperoni; hand-crushed in spaghetti sauce– what’s not to love? My personal holiday favourite: the classic black olive, stuffed with mashed potatoes. I am just never too full for two more.

  52. Lauren

    As a child the only olives I like were the big black ones in a jar and I still do! But lately I love The Italian Oil Cured black olives its so great. And I also love bread and butter pickles but I have a favorite way to eat the oil cured ones other than atop cheese on a cracker. When I can get Goat Cheese I get the plain kind and chop up my olives some raw garlic and some anchovies. mix it all with the goat cheese and spread on a good cracker and add meats or my fav artichoke heats in olive oil.

  53. Jeanne

    Olives are great! I also once ate an entire jar, but when my mother was babysitting me — weird coincidence!

  54. Gluti Girl

    This made me giggle. When I was pregnant with my one of my children, I think it was my daughter, I ate an entire can of those jumbo black olives in one sitting. I totally understand this love you have for olives. It’s what I always love to munch on while I’m cooking dinner!

  55. Melissa

    What about those delicious little olives stuffed with anchovies, all buttery and yum.…am I the only one who literally craves those sometimes?

  56. tommie

    coming out of lurkdom to comment– means it must be near and dear to my heart!

    I love love love olives! My favorite way to have them is very simple.

    Once the kids (ages 3 and 4) are tucked away. I love to have a little snack, a glass of wine, any kind of cheese, and a bit of olives. It always seems so decadent to be just a little stay at home mom enjoying her wine with cheese and olives.

    Thanks for asking.…..

  57. Queen Alice

    I used to also eat the canned black olives off my fingers as a child too! Now my favorites to eat are picholine olives, oil cured black olives I will eat out of the container. There is a store near me that sells buttery green olives stuffed with pickled lemons which are amazing.
    Once when I was backpacking in Sicily my friend and I came across this tiny little market on the island of Favignana off the coast of Trapani and they had the most amazing olives that I have ever had. I don’t know what kind they were. They were large and meaty and practically made our knees buckle when we ate them.
    Even though we were backpacking we bought a whole kilo of them and we ate them all that day, and the next morning for breakfast.

  58. La Niña

    I know that you can’t have this until Little Bean comes into the world… but I’m surprised that no one has mentioned a perfectly chilled glass of Vodka or Gin with one super colossal green olive– pimento or garlic stuffed– soaking up that cold liquid, and imparting a briny infusion as you drink until it hits your lips like a salty, slippery bowling ballistic missile of tangy explosiveness.

    Cheers!

  59. Anonymous

    I love olives!! and olive oil. I remember Thanksgiving and olives on the table…I think I ate them all before anyone else got to them. Twenty some odd years ago, I had my first day on a job, didn’t have any lunch and was starving when I got home. My neighbor made wicked martinis, so I decided to have a few (more than I had ever had) and he also had a jar of green olives — I ate the entire jar! Well as you can imagine a few hours later it wasn’t the best evening…but Ohhh those olives were delicious going down. And I still love them, kosher pickles too. My mom ate kosher pickles the entire time she was pregnant with me. Every time I think about them my mouth waters. And olives come in a close second. Congrats on your “little bean” I know you both are thrilled.

  60. Anonymous

    When I was little, maybe 8 years old, I bought my dad a 5 3/4 oz jar of pimiento-stuffed green Spanish olives for his birthday. Of course I hoped he would share the bounty me. Sometimes I snuck the jar from the fridge door, spooned out some juice and sipped slowly, savoring the salty tang.

    I confess that these days I don’t do well remembering the names of various types of olives, but I like them all, more or less, just about any kind. Salty, vinegary, garlicky, buttery. In tapenade, in bread, in salad, with cheese, with a meal, without a meal… Got olives? I’ll take one, two, eight, twelve…

    Kris

  61. Anonymous

    My favourite is without a doubt picholines. And my prefered way of eating them will be around a table with good friends in the south of France with a nice bottle of rose wine and some fresh bread and cheese! Now if that ain’t happiness?! ;-)

  62. ChichaJo

    I love olives! I marinate them myself and my lastest fave is with garlic, coriander seed, lemon, and olive oil (just posted about it in fact) :) But, like you, I can really eat all sorts, everyday if given the chance! Lots of ideas here in the comments…you can be sure I’m taking notes :)

    Congratulations on your Little Bean :)

  63. Dkswife

    Two ways I love my olives:
    1. In tabouli, which I know is taboo to you, but I love tabouli. I put a lot of olives (green and black) in this lovely salad!

    2. I take softened cream cheese and mix in some chili powder and chop up green and black olives and use it as a dip! I love it! Sometimes, I will spread it on flour tortillas roll them up, let sit in the fridge for 3 — 4 hours, then slice. The tortillas soften up very nicely!

  64. Katya

    I do like olives, but no one is a more dedicated olive lover than my best friend. She would buy the cans of black olives and either eat them plain or cut them up and place them on open faced sandwiches (or as Ukrainians call it buterbrod).

    I usually like to get a mix of different olives. But my heart really belongs with another briney treat– the amazing pickle.

  65. Kelley

    Olives! I love them all, any kind, any time. I love the briny, dark olives I get at our local Greek restaurant, taking bites of olive with nibbles of feta cheese. Perfection!

    And congrats on Baby Bean! My eyes still well with happy tears when I think about when I was pregnant with my son. Your heart does not yet fully know the love it will feel when you hold your baby in your arms for the very first time. It’s an overwhelming explosion of love and happiness!

  66. colette

    Shauna, I think your next pot luck should be an olive party! Almost as good as the bacon one, don’t you think? Chicken Marbella (I do it in the crock pot with boneless chickens) has the olive and prune mix which is pretty dang satisfying. I absolutely love olives (and I hear they keep worms out of your system, not that that is a worry of mine but it certainly makes you wonder). I can get these good and spicy ones at our local market, yum.

    Add me to the group that put the black olives on my fingers as a kid. I can still get them on my pinkie and do so when ever I can.

    Congrats on the bean, I’m so happy for the two of you (I’m a huge lurker so you’d never know).

  67. Geekgrl64

    I love black olives. I like the green, but the pimento had better be gone, don’t care for those. Every holiday my mom puts out a little dish of celery, carrot sticks and olives. It is usually picked over by the time the meal starts!

  68. kimberly

    My favorite way to enjoy olives of any kind is to carefully transfer them onto the plate of someone who loves them, and watch his/her face light up. Actually, that’s the only way I enjoy olives. More for you, my dear (and Little Bean, of course).

  69. Courtney

    Well, I feel weird writing this since I don’t have celiac (a horrible soy allergy, though) but I love your writing! Anyway, as a little girl my mom and grandma used to take me to lunch in the Perry Davis hotel in Petoskey, MI and I used to always order a cream cheese, sprout and black olive sandwich on whole wheat. Bliss, pure bliss…now I love tapenade spread on goat cheese as well.

  70. Jen

    I’m not a big olive fan — but what you described from when you were a kid? That described me perfectly, but with pickles!

  71. loverstreet

    i definitely have an olive fetish–any way you slice or stuff them i love to pop them in my mouth! my favorite dish is diced heirloom tomatoes, sliced kalmattas, diced avocado, and goat cheese, drizzled with oil and vinegar. mmm. the best GF comfort food for me.
    however, my mom makes the adorable little olive penguins. they are made with giant olives from a can, stuffed with cream cheese and then sliced carrots for feet and little carrot wedges for beaks. so cute you feel guilt for eating them. good childhood memories of the penguins at the thanksgiving feast! we certainly didn’t limit ourselves just to one bird that meal. :)

  72. Amy

    Olives. Any kind of olives.

    I can totally relate to your Thanksgiving story, since holidays were the time we had ‘fancy’ things like black olives. The local grocery has feta stuffed AND blue cheese stuffed olives on their ‘olive bar’. Whee!

    And my local bagel guy has green olive cream cheese. Spread on a pumpernickel bagel..oh my.

    Life is good.

  73. Lisa

    I have rarely found an olive I don’t like — Gaetas, Cerignolas, Santa Barbara Olive Co’s Sevillanos stuffed with sun dried tomatoes, little purple-y Nicoise, big green ones with a chunk of blue cheese, cracked green ones with herbs, even the ubiquitious manzanillas with pimento — but never, ever get the “low-sodium” ones. I swear I thought they were spoiled, they tasted so bad.

  74. elsepeth27

    Oh, I love olives too! I think that my favorite is the spiced Sicilian olives that they have at the olive bar at the grocery where I shop. My grandfather loved Sicilian olives, and I loved him. I also love Drunken Goat cheese. I have a very small chunk in the fridge that I have been saving for a special occasion… perhaps it’s time to try to make a tapenade.… :)

    Also, someone bought me your book for my birthday! I look very much forward to reading it after reading your blog for months. :)

  75. Anonymous

    After a week of a stomach bug, my mouth is just watering reading the blog and everyone’s ideas. I love any olives, though have only recently gone back to enjoying the basic black olives (they seemed pointless for a time). My faves, jalapeno stuffed and anything in lemon zest.

    I had to laugh at the pickle juice/olive juice comments. My brother and I used to fight over both! Along with those nectars, we had to split the juice from canned artichoke hearts.

  76. Zoomie

    I love olives in spaghetti sauce. My friend Meredith introduced me to black olives and cinnamon in spaghetti sauce years ago and I’ve never changed her recipe, except that now I don’t chop the olives, only halve them.

  77. Palmer Public Library

    Love, love, love green olives — any way. As I kid I got a bottle of olives in my Christmas stocking every year — just for me! This was a big deal as we didn’t have a lot of money, and olives were defnitely an “extra” in the grocery budget.

  78. bakerina

    Living in a Greek neighborhood, I am hugely spoiled for olive choice, so much so that when I try to pick a favorite, I find myself so overwhelmed by the choices that spring to mind that my jaw slackens, my eyes glaze and I make embarrassing “uhhhhhhhhh…” noises. How classy of me. :)

    I will note that when I was whipsawed by the flu in February, I spent a week living on Theraflu, Gatorade and oranges, but it was on the day I felt well enough to eat a quarter-pound of garlic-stuffed Cerignola olives and chase them with another quarter-pound of volvi (tiny rose-colored pickled onions, also ubiquitous in the Greek delis and supermarkets in my neighborhood) that I knew I had found what I needed to feel better.

  79. Anonymous

    I think the olives on finger tips is a kid thing. It’s also proof of a GREAT sense of humor. I notice quite a few of us out there have happy olive finger memories!

    Suzi

  80. J.F.

    I too, had a bad experience as a child eating olives…little bumps, not exactly hives. Strange because as an adult I frequently partake in garlic stuffed green olives, black, kalamata, you name it with no negative consequences.

  81. swirlingnotions

    When I was little, it was those Jumbo Libby’s olives on the finger, like you described. And even today, I have to have canned, sliced, black olives on my taco salad or it’s just not a taco salad.

    But aside from that one lingering vestige of childhood, now I adore experimenting with all kinds of olives from all over the place. I think my favorite, though, were the ones I picked with my friend from her tree and my tree and brine-cured. All year long, we’d strain a few and toss them with different combinations of herbs and aromatics. So fun. So yummy. I’ll have to do that again this year!

  82. Jill

    Oh, I love them all.
    Olives and pickles and capers.
    All the salty, vinegary treats.
    I can go to the olive bar at Whole Foods and just come away with a lovely sampler.
    I go home and eat olives like they are candy.
    Pungent, savory, fleshy candy.
    Yum.
    I really like the dry, cured, wrinkly olives.
    I am not sure what type they are.
    But they have a great earthy flavor and a lovely mouth-feel.

    Great blog. I will be back often!

  83. EatPlayLove

    Garlic stuffed green olives.. And can I just throw out there, I predict you are having a girl, from this very post. I have two girls and I couldn’t escape the need for an olive jar stocked at all times during both pregnancies in my refrigerator.

  84. Michelle

    Salt Tasting Room! My favourite place in the city. It’s heaven there, and I’m really glad you found your way to it. Isn’t simply breathtaking, the combinations they have?

  85. psuklinkie

    TheBoy and I use my oversize purse to sneak green olives into the movie theatre.
    Not only does it save us money on other salty theatre snacks, but all the people around us secretly (or so I imagine) envy our delightful, healthier-than-popcorn-and-raisinettes treat.

    Also, when I was little, I used to make claws on one hand out of bugles (the little conical chip things) and “suckers” on the other with black olives. Then, each hand would fight. Bugles always gave out to olives, perhaps leading me into my present love for that perfect little snack?

  86. JulieVR

    My new favorite thing: roast grape tomatoes, red and yellow peppers and a few hot chile peppers with a few cloves of garlic, all drizzled with olive oil. Pulse in the food processor with a handful of olives until chunky. Crumble a log of goat cheese into a baking dish and spread the olive-tomato-pepper mixture overtop; bake until bubbly.

    Cold leftovers make fantastic panini!

  87. Debbie

    Olives, oh, YES! I remember as a child getting a can of black olives in my Christmas stocking. I think I ate the entire can in 2 sittings. I would put them on each of my fingers and pluck them off one by one.
    My mother also put olive in her holiday relish tray. But she was smart; she counted the olives and if they didn’t all make it to the table, the guilty party would get fewer than the rest.
    I thought green olives were yukky. My brother loved cream cheese and green olive sandwiches. Ugh!
    My kids repeated history. I had to count the olives in the salad. Only 2 per customer. I think we did the can in the stocking with my boys.
    Now my favorite olive is Kalamata. I love the saltiness and the brine. Green olives are ok now.

  88. Alena

    I grew up eating large black olives from the can — these fingers remember the juicy, oily goodness of vinegar-tinged “fingernails.” My sister and I would play with our olives for ever, or at least until our mother told us to knock it off and eat our food! ;) Now days, I am still partial to plain ol’ black olives from an 89 cent can, but I have recently fallen in love with green olives cured with garlic. I plan to experiment with more varieties soon…

  89. Shauna

    My goodness, I’m hungry now! I’m so glad that everyone wants to weigh in on olives this vociferously (I had no idea what a nerve this would strike). Sorry to those of you who hate them. Really? Wow.

    Muffaletta. I’ve never had one. Must attempt one.

    And some of those pasta dishes have me weak in the knees.

    I’m going to come back to these comments often, as a resource, when I’m trying to figure out what to cook next. I hope you do too.

  90. Anonymous

    Why doesn’t every bar offer olives as a snack like they do in the Mediterranean? I’ve survived many times when no GF meals were available on wine and olives. (In England, where I live now, the equivalent is a pint of cider and a bag of crisps). And my friend (who makes very good martinis) and I have a ritual: he — “Would you like your martini dirty?” me — wink wink, nudge nudge “Oh yes.…VERY dirty!” Cracks us up every time.

  91. Candace McKay

    Hey, I just found your website looking for information on gluten-free and olives. Are olives gluten-free, in general? I’ve been afraid to eat them because I’m not sure if I can trust vinegar or anything else that might be in there made from wheat (unknown things!) I love olives and I’m hoping you can give me some assurance. Thanks! Great website!