Saving boring olives
October 6, 2010 2:08 PM   Subscribe

What do I do with bland olives? I recently purchased canned olives for the first time (usually get them in jars or from the expensive olive bar). They are the Whole Foods 365 brand and have no seasoning besides salt. They are bland and quite gross actually. What can I add them to, or do to them to make them tasty and/or useful.
posted by purpletangerine to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Add them to an extra-dry martini, three at a time.
posted by jquinby at 2:10 PM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Make tapenade?
posted by CheeseLouise at 2:11 PM on October 6, 2010

Response by poster: Oooh, if only. Will have to wait until I'm no longer pregnant, and so I think they'll be bad by then.
posted by purpletangerine at 2:11 PM on October 6, 2010

If they're in brine, add some peeled garlic to them, wait a few days - garlic olives! lovely in a strong gin martini....
posted by dbmcd at 2:14 PM on October 6, 2010

Best answer: Whenever we have an over-abundance of olives ... both and good and bad, we make a baked dish out of it that my wife and I love.

Basically, what you do is this:

1) Get a cookie sheet or pyrex baking dish (whatever) and coat it with olive oil.
2) Thinly slice Roma tomatoes and layer across the bottom of the whole dish.
3) Light salt and pepper the tomatoes.
4) Roughly chop the olives and some garlic. (How much is your disgression. We love garlic so we use 2-3 heads, lightly roasted)
5) Sprinkle the olive and garlic mix onto the tomatoes evenly. Sprinkle more olive oil.
6) Sprinkle a cheese (your choice what kind but we love goat cheese and feta mixed) all over the dish.
7) If you're a meat-eater (we use lamb or ground buffalo) sprinkle some browned and finely ground meat around the dish as well.
8) Bake at around 400 (F) for around 20-30 minutes.
9) Eat this either straight or on somekind of crunchy, toasted bread. We either use baquette or a lightly toasted Lavash.
posted by damiano99 at 2:19 PM on October 6, 2010 [9 favorites]

Add some to a tomato based pasta sauce
posted by lizabeth at 2:20 PM on October 6, 2010

Response by poster: Yay! A variety already! Thanks. Does anyone have specific tapenade recipes? I'm interested in trying that.
posted by purpletangerine at 2:27 PM on October 6, 2010

Response by poster: I forgot to include that I have one can of black olives and one can of green.
posted by purpletangerine at 2:30 PM on October 6, 2010

Best answer: Tapenade isn't so much a recipe thing as a toss in whatever you have lying around thing. In a food processor, put your olives, some garlic, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil. Blend, taste, tweak if necessary. Possible add-ins are anchovies, capers, red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, whatever. Spread on toasted baguette.
posted by CheeseLouise at 2:36 PM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's a long way to go to get rid of olives, but we use quite a few of them in picadillo, which is a Cuban beef hash that's awesome over rice and 3x as good the following day. This recipe is pretty close to the one we use, though there is some room for variation. We use more olives and (to the horror of some of the children) raisins. Serve with black beans and rice and a side of fried plantains. It's awesome. YUM.
posted by jquinby at 2:41 PM on October 6, 2010

I usually boost stupid olives with freshly hacked garlic, a combo of black pepper-thyme-rosemary-oregano-coarse salt, occasionally also a bit of very finely sliced sun-dried tomato (and/or anchovies, if you've got really good ones) and let it all stand at room temp for an hour or so. Sometimes a slice of lemon goes fine with this as well.

That said, there are olives that aren't worth these ingredients. They're not worth adding to other preparations either; they act up as bits of blackened cardboard in your Ratatouille, they play Dead Baby Rat in your beef stew, they occupy undeservedly the space of what really should be On Top Of Spaghetti, they destroy your Martinis, in short, they're not even worth the effort of opening the can. These you should sent back to the producer, can, brine and all, with no stamp on the package.
posted by Namlit at 2:46 PM on October 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

My wife and I like to chop them up and stir them into some couscous. Liberal squirtings of lemon juice to cover. This is a great base to build from: you could also add sundried tomatoes, parsley, garlic, turmeric, ginger, basil, mint, or stuff it into baked tomato.
posted by Paragon at 2:46 PM on October 6, 2010

Return them and buy some good ones.
posted by Slinga at 3:36 PM on October 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

They're decent in Puttanesca sauce, though obviously not as delicious as good olives. I use the recipe in Joy of Cooking.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 3:55 PM on October 6, 2010

I like olive bar olives too, to the point that can & jar olives don't do much for me any more. But over the weekend I used up some leftover black & green olives I had in the pantry by using them to top off a Mexican Layer Dip. It was pretty good, I didn't even notice that the olives were the blah kind:

1 can refried beans
1/2 packet taco seasoning
1 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. shredded Mexican cheese
Shredded lettuce to cover
Chopped tomatoes
Sliced or chopped black and green olives

Layer all ingredients in order in a 8 x 8 pan. Serve with tortilla chips.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:03 PM on October 6, 2010

This is my family's version of a Julia Child recipe. We've always used the bland, canned black olives in it, and I think it blends pretty well with the other ingredients. I love niçoise and kalamata olives, but I honestly don't think they'd work as well in this.

Spaghetti Marco Polo
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 2/3 c. chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 c. chopped black olives
  • 1/2 c. chopped pimento (I've used jarred, but fresh might be better)
  • 1/3 c. chopped parsley
  • 3/4 - 1 teaspoon minced basil
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 or 3 cloves minced garlic
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • maybe a touch of salt, but the cheese should be enough
Mix together walnuts, olives, pimento, parsley and basil. Briefly sauté garlic in oil. Add cooked spaghetti and mix. Add walnut mixture and mix. Add parmesan at the table.
posted by serathen at 4:37 PM on October 6, 2010

Are they whole? Stuff them with something interesting, like minced purple onion mixed with cream cheese, or roasted minced red peppers mixed with of touch of sesame oil, or mashed avocado, lime juice and sundried tomatoes. Horse doovers!
posted by fish tick at 4:52 PM on October 6, 2010

Best answer: You can roast them! I like to do this to make your basic black canned olive taste better. Take your olives, and coat them with a combination of olive oil, salt, pepper diced garlic, chili pepper flakes, and whatever spices you like. I usually use herbes de provence. Toss, and put on a roasting sheet in the oven (450 degrees), and cook until they're a bit wrinkly, about 10-13 minutes or so. You should stir them frequently. When they're done, toss them with some finely chopped parsley, orange or lemon zest, and possibly some diced fresh rosemary. Tasty!
posted by heurtebise at 7:21 PM on October 6, 2010

Stick a dried chile in them (I would suggest arbol). That should liven them up in about 24-48 hours.
posted by Gilbert at 7:49 PM on October 6, 2010

Olive-cheese dip! Chop the one can of the olives and combine them with five ounces of feta or bleu cheese and a brick of cream cheese.

Addables: any kind of nut.
posted by punchtothehead at 5:42 AM on October 7, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everybody! I'm making tapenade for a dinner party tonight. Hopefully I'll have enough flavorful add-ins to counter the "stupid olives."
posted by purpletangerine at 7:16 AM on October 7, 2010

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