Olives seem to make their way to every buffet table, appetizer party and cheese tray, however, if you walk into a party with a jar of olives, you typically get the “that’s the best you could do?” look, but still everyone likes to munch on olives.
What do you do? You can spend 8 – 12$ a pound at the gourmet olive bar at an upscale market, where, let’s be frank, it looks like the olives have been sitting out in public for way too long, or you can take literally 10 minutes of your time and make your own gourmet blend for way less. I mean, what do you think the upscale store deli does anyway?
Buy olives on sale and stock up, they store exceptionally well. And if you buy them in the can, you can find them even cheaper than jarred varieties. Today I was at Valley Produce, they have a lot of ethnic food choices there, with an emphasis on Middle East flavors, so they had many different kinds of olives, but ever jar variety contained olives with pits. I’m too lazy to deal with pits and I’m always afraid somebody is going to break a tooth! Luckily I found some pitted green olives in a can, and for only $2.49 for 19 ounces, they were a good price as well. I already had some Kalamata olives at home, so I used the two together.
Make these olives at least a few hours in advance so the flavors have a chance to blend together, and they store well in the fridge for several weeks. These taste even better after a few days when the lemon zest, pepper and garlic permeate the brine so for best results make a few days in advance.
Dressed-Up Olives, Makes Approximately 4 Cups
- 2 Cups Green Pitted Olives
- 1 ½ Cups Kalamata Pitted Olives
- 2 – 3 Sweet Banana Peppers (or 1/2 half red bell pepper, or if you want it spicy perhaps a small jalapeno)
- 3 Cloves Garlic Sliced Thin or Minced
- 1 Tsp Dried Italian Seasoning
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Zest of One Lemon (I like Zest Ribbons here instead of grating)
- 1 Tbsp Mustard Seeds
- 1/4 Tsp Fresh Ground PepperDrain off most of the juice of the olives, and mix together with remaining ingredients. Store in a glass- covered container (an olive jar perhaps?). For variety, add sun-dried tomato, small cubes of feta or mozzarella, artichoke hearts or cherry tomatoes. Note: Adding fresh ingredients will reduce the time the mixture will stay fresh in the fridge, I’d use it up within a few days optimally.