Olives, those small and flavorful fruits, have been enjoyed by many cultures for centuries. Whether eaten as a standalone snack or incorporated into various dishes, olives offer a delightful combination of tanginess, richness, and a hint of bitterness.
Let's explore when people commonly enjoy olives, their perfect pairings, let us provide tips for making and storing homemade seasoned olives, known as "azeitonas temperadas" in Portugal.
Olives find their place on diverse occasions and in various culinary traditions. They are often served as appetizers, enhancing the dining experience with their unique flavors. Additionally, olives can be found in salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, and even cocktails. Whether it's a casual gathering, a formal event, or a quick snack at home, olives add a touch of sophistication to any occasion.
Perfect Pairings with Olives
Wine: Olives and wine make a classic combination. The briny, savory taste of olives complements the fruity or earthy notes found in different wines. For example, green olives are fantastic with crisp white wines, while the boldness of black olives pairs well with red wines.
Cheese: Olives and cheese form a delightful partnership. The saltiness and texture of olives beautifully contrast with the creamy and nutty flavors of cheese. Feta, goat or sheep cheese, are just a few examples of cheeses that pair exceptionally well with olives.
Bread and Crackers: Olives serve as a fantastic topping for bread and crackers, creating a harmonious blend of textures and flavors. Whether you're enjoying a baguette, a slice of rustic bread, or crispy crackers, adding olives takes your snacking experience to another level.
Homemade Seasoned Olives (Azeitonas Temperadas)
In Portugal, azeitonas temperadas are homemade seasoned olives that allow individuals to customize the flavors according to their preferences. every household has their own "secret" recipe and even restaurants make their own seasoned olives.
You can do your own version at home in no time. Get creative with your seasonings! Consider adding ingredients like lemon zest, chili flakes, garlic or fennel to infuse unique flavors into your olives.
Let's see some recipes!
Olives Seasoned with Lemon, Garlic, Pepper and Olive Oil
For 500 grams of olives
3 cloves of gralic
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
50 ml olive oil
Pinch of pepper
Pinch of salt (in case the olives are not salty already)
Wash the olives thoroughly and put them in a bowl.
Add the spices, then the olive oil and mix well.
Place in jars or sealable food containers and refrigerate for 2-3 days to allow the flavours to blend well.
Olives with garlic and spices
For 500 grams of olives
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon of fennel or cumin (seeds or powder)
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or minced
1 pinch of cayenne (optional)
Olive oil to taste
Mix all the ingedients and let it rest in the fridge for a day or two.
Spiced olives Alentejo style
It is very common to find them as a starter in any Portuguese restaurant, but it is in the Alentejo that they are especially famous. The spiced olives are great to snack on with bread while waiting for the main course.
You can also enjoy them on hot summer days, accompanied by a cool drink while chatting with your friends on the terrace.
Seasoned olives can be served straight away, but if you wait a day or two for them to develop their flavour, they taste even better.
For 500 g olives
3 cloves of garlic, minced
60 ml olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
Wash the olives well and place them in a jar or a bowl.
Add the bay leaf, the minced garlic cloves, olive oil and oregano to taste.
Stir and mix well.
Put them in a cool, dry place and serve within a few days.
Storing Homemade Seasoned Olives
Storage containers: Transfer the seasoned olives and brine into clean, airtight containers such as glass jars or food-grade plastic containers.
Refrigeration: Store the olives in the refrigerator to maintain freshness and preserve their flavors. They can usually be kept for several weeks.
Consumption time: Homemade seasoned olives are best consumed within 2-6 days for optimal flavor. You can store them even longer, however, note that their taste may continue to develop over time.