Friday, September 14, 2012

Easy Roasted Olive Appetizer Plate using California Ripe Olives in the Can

I love an easy appetizer. Who doesn't. But sometimes we get in a rut and pull out the same old chips and dips and cheese and crackers we always do. Well I was recently at a gathering and thought I need to do something different. Something lighter and something tasty. Olives came to mind as one options. But how to make them more interesting than getting them from the deli olive bar and opening up a tub into a bowl? You know open a can! Well that got me thinking about olives in a can.

I really only knew there were 2 kinds of olives growning up. Green oilves that came in a jar with pimentos and California Black or Ripe olives that came in a can. Kalamata oilves and all the other varieties were just not on the tip of everyone's tongue in the US. when I was a kid. I didn't learn till much later the joy of the cultivated olive. When I did discover Greek Olives I was really blown away. The flavors and the textures were all so good and slowly I relegated the canned black olive to a culinary position which included mexican foods and salad recipes which called for them.

Recently I have been on a kick to try and reinvent uses for ingredients deemed old school or passe in the more modern kitchen. I used black olives for something the other day and thought they could be more interesting. I mean how is it that olives produced in the US. have this profile flavor-wise. Well I did some research and this is what I found out.

From the California Ripe Olive Producers:

The roots of the California Ripe Olive go way back. Wild olive (scientifically known as oleaster) once grew all over the Mediterranean, southeast Asia and other areas, but this unimpressive, straggly plant bore little resemblance to the graceful modern olive tree. That is, until about 5,000 years ago when it was first cultivated in Crete and Syria into the beauty as we now know it.

Once established, olive trees flourished in Spain, Tunisia, Morocco and other Mediterranean countries for thousands of years, featured in many of the regions culinary specialties. The Spaniards were the first to realize that this fabulous fruit could have international appeal and took the first cuttings to Peru in the mid-sixteenth century.
From there, Franciscan Monks took olives to the New World and moved north through the missions of Mexico. At last, in 1769, the first olive cuttings were planted in California at the San Diego Mission. As most transplants do, they responded quite well to the California climate-sunny days, cool nights, fresh air-and they set their roots.

Surrounded by such a cooperative climate, Californian’s started planting acres upon acres of olive trees in response to the high demand for olive oil in the 1800s. Then the market became saturated (with monounsaturated oil ironically) and prices dropped. Farmers who had used all of their land for olive oil were doomed if they didn’t come up with a new plan.

A resourceful German woman named Freda Ehmann and her son, Edwin, were part of this population. Who would’ve guessed that they would soon be the ones to figure out the solution? The Ehmann’s had trees that bore little fruit and selling pressed oil was not an option. After consulting with a Berkeley professor on processing methods, Freda began experimenting with 280 gallons of olives in barrels on her back porch. Thanks to her creative dreaming and stick-to-it-ness California Ripe Olives were created right then and there.
California Ripe Olives may not be prepared on the back porch anymore (in fact, we can assure you, they are always preserved in one of two state-of-the-art facilities), but they are made through the same exact process that Freda invented. This is what makes our olives taste decidedly American. Mild, versatile and meaty, they continue to add great flavor to everything from American country cooking to a melting pot of ethnic cuisines.

Who knew right? So obviously the flavor profile of these olives make them open to being used with other flavors to create something special. 
So having been to plenty of restaurants and events where a tasty olive bowl is available all mixed up with herbs some oil nuts and maybe garlic or citrus bits for flavor, I decided to make my own. However I would use the California Ripe olive out of the can!
So I did it. It was easy and it was well received. I used pearl onions, California Roasted Almonds ( staying with the state theme) some oilve oil, some garlic slices, fennel seeds, rosemary, sea salt  and of course California Ripe oilves. Stir it up. Saute lightly on the stove top then roast for 10 mins in the oven. Yum! So give this a try and mix up your nut bowl at the next party! Enjoy Ya'll!

Roasted California Ripe Olives with Almonds Onions and Herbs

preheat oven to 425 degrees

1 can 8oz California Ripe (black) oilves
4 tablespoons olive oil
10 pearl onions ( if frozen thaw)
1 large sprig rosemary leaves chopped
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1/4 cup roasted almonds whole
2 cloves garlic sliced thin
Sea salt

Place oil in oven proof pan and heat over medium heat
add spices and allow to bloom a few minutes
add onions and cook till a little brown on one side
add the other ingredients and stir
cook for 3 to 5 mins then place into oven for 10 mins
take out and let cool on the counter, serve with bread.

No comments:

Post a Comment