Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Marinating olives: part 1

I am a creature of habit, and because I have always lived near one end of my local market in Cadiz, I have tended to concentrate my shopping in that area, too: my regular fruit and veg stall and butcher are both near the main entrance, and while I am more eclectic in my fish shopping, that still leaves a whole bit of the market that I never really wander into.

When I went to the market with my man trolley a couple of days ago, I decided to make a conscious effort to branch out a little (helped by the fact that it was a Tuesday, which is always much quieter than the pandemonium of Friday and Saturday mornings). At the very far end of the market, way beyond my usual territory, I came across a stall with the sign "Productos de la Sierra de Cádiz" (products from the hilly interior of Cadiz province) with a range of stuff including partridges, rabbits, wild herbs, snails and raw olives, and thought it would be fun to try marinating some olives at home.

I had a chat with the stallholder about what needed to be done, and he showed me how to gently crush the olives, then leave them in water for 6 days (changing the water every 2 days) before actually doing the marinating. So I went off with a 3 kg bag of beautiful green and black olives for just 5 euros, and a promise to come back next week to stock up with marinade ingredients.

Stage 1: crushing and washing

3 kg of raw olives

  1. Put plenty of cold water in a large container.
  2. Put the olives on a table or board, and gently crush them by hitting them firmly but not too hard with a mallet or something similar. (We actually used some very sturdy Ikea drinking glasses.)
  3. As you crush the olives, transfer them to the container. Top up with more water if necessary.
  4. Stir the olives around well with your hands, strain off the water and then cover the olives with fresh water.
  5. After 2 days, strain off the water, rinse the olives well, and cover with fresh water.
  6. Repeat again after 2 days.
  7. And again after 2 days. Your olives are now ready for you to start marinating.

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