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Castelvetrano Olive Antipasti

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© 2012 Helana Brigman
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So many people I know shy away from eating olives not because they are delicious (as with these here), but because they’ve had one too many disastrous experiences with the looming, sour, supermarket green olive.  You know the ones–stuffed with pimento, barely the size of a nickel, and tart from vinegar?  I can’t say I blame them.  But these are not those olives.The olive family is so vast, flavorful, and wonderful, it’s hard for me to describe exactly where the Castelvetrano Olive fits in.  Sure, it looks like the kind of green olive seen in every American grocery store, but it has the size of a larger variety like the Lucques variation found in France, and, like its French cousin, is cultivated in western Europe (Castelvetrano, Italy).

But the real draw in this olive? Its flavor is so mild, any finicky olive eater might smile from the olive’s subtle, “Hello,” whereas any olive enthusiast might jump at the opportunity to stuff it with garlic, cheese, anchovies or the like.  In truth, Castelvetrano makes for impressive antipasti.

Pictured: Castelvetrano Olives are cultivated in Castelvetrano, Italy, and are available at specialty food stores like Whole Foods for $9.99 a pound.

When preparing a farewell meal for my friend Peter this past weekend, I was sure to go all out with freshly caught ahi tuna, a salad that could kill with its chopped avocado, honey sesame sticks, and crisp greens (courtesy of the culinary stylings of my boyfriend Rhett), and these lovely but simple green olives from Castelvetrano, Italy.  Available at our Baton Rouge Whole Foods, diners simply need to purchase and serve with toothpicks or an olive oil vinaigrette. Although we scarfed down the whole container without much preparation, but toothpicks in hand, Castelvetrano Olives can be dressed in herbs, olive oil, and salt and pepper for jazzed up flavor in under five minutes.

Plate Castelvetrano with good quality bread, cheese, or crackers for a new take on the looming supermarket olive…dare I say, “super” olive?

Castelvetrano Olives in Herbs and Oil

This recipe is a simple variation of any antipasti with olives.  Simply warm olives in oil and herbs for a richly flavored infusion perfect for mild green olives like the Castelvetrano.

Ingredients:

*1 tablespoon basil, chopped

*1 tablespoon thyme, chopped

*1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped

*2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

*1 pound Castelvetrano Olives

*1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

*cracked pepper, to taste

1.) Roughly chop basil, thyme, and rosemary. Whisk herbs into olive oil in a sauce pan.  Cover and infuse olive oil with herbs for 1 hour.

2.) Warm saucepan over medium heat and add garlic and olives.  Stir to coat olives and pan roast for 5 minutes or until olives are warm to the touch.

3.) Transfer olives to serving dish with toothpicks and dress in cracked pepper.  Serve with bread, cheese, or crackers and any good quality wine.  Makes 4-6 servings.

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Castelvetrano Olive Antipasti, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings
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