Olives and I have a complex relationship, one in which I feel that olives are often misunderstood. We got off on the wrong foot I think. When I was five, I was standing in front of what I thought was a towering pile of chocolate almonds (my greatest weakness) but when I ate one, I was unpleasantly surprised by a particularly olive-y olive, pit and all. Ugh. Ever since then, olives and I have been at odds. I love love love olive oil, olive bread and olive paste. I hate hate hate whole olives.
But the thing is, I want to love whole olives. They are in all of my favourite things (read: martinis) and they look so good! And I feel as though I should have grown into them by now. Like peas (peas are a lost cause). So when A. and I were in Italy, I tried a big green olive and promptly gagged. When we were in Czech Republic, I ate a deeply marinated black one with cheese and well, I gagged less. Sigh.
But in the spirit of trying again, I made this pasta sauce last night (see kind of odd looking picture above), from ‘Eat, Drink & Be Vegan’ (slightly revised). And you know what? It was really tasty. I think the key with olives for me is to mix them with something else…10 cloves of garlic does the trick.
‘Olive Oyl Pasta’
2 tbsp olive oil
10 cloves garlic, chopped (not minced…weeeeee!)
1 big shallot
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 28 oz tin of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, halved and pitted
+green salad with homemade mustard vinagerette (read: dijon mustard, white wine vinager, lemon juice, garlic, salt and olive oil blended together at the last minute)
= olive-y good times.
In a large pot on med-low heat, cook up the garlic, spices, and shallots in the olive oil for about five minutes. Stir pretty regularly and keep an eye on the garlic to make sure it doesn’t burn. Add tomatoes and bring to boil. Turn down and simmer for about 15 minutes while you make your pasta and veg. Toss in the olives and then add to pasta. Or, as will be the case today, leftover chickpea/quinoa/fennel casserole (consider it jazzed).