I'd Like To Phone My Olives?

I'm always looking for easy ways to make simple dishes more interesting and pack in a little more volume. But I needn't look too far, as one of my all time favorite foods – olives – are often the perfect flavor punch for a simple dish. Specifically, garlic-cured olives. You can get them at most supermarkets now in the fresh olive bar section. Plus, you can usually buy as many or as few as you'd like at a very reasonable bulk price. Julia and I have some in our fridge almost all the time, and their garlicky, salty, crunchy milieu add much to our everyday cooking.

Check out a recent example:

Two days ago, Julia requested a light and tasty salad for dinner. I decided to use some black beans as a protein/fiber source and rinsed and drained a can and then heated them with seasoning on the stove for a few minutes. I also toasted some crunched up Ramen noodles with some cooking spray and salt. Once both cooled down, I added them to some mixed greens with some minced red onion. And already, a nice, tasty, crunchy, simple salad that could be an entree. But it needed dressing and it needed that extra punch to make it really delicious. So I made a simple vinaigrette into a garlic olive vinaigrette. I chopped about eight garlic olives and put them back in the remaining garlic and oil and then added a little additional extra virgin olive oil, a tablespoon of white wine vinegar, salt, pepper, three dashes of Tabasco and a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. After shaking it vigorously it was thick and amazing tasting. A great, deep mix of flavors with the olives, garlic, horseradish, Tabasco all melding well. This addendum made the salad completely pop, and neither of us could stop eating it. It was such an easy dinner, I'm gonna be making it all the time!

Bonus: the very next night Julia surprised me with an awesome component to dinner: a bruschetta loaded with tomatoes and garlic olives on an herb baguette with a light spreading of goat cheese. It was incredibly tasty and you guessed it – those olives and their punch really put the dish over the top.

So it's good to remember a lifeline ingredient like these olives that can allow simple cooking with huge, delicious flavors. When I'm in a pinch, I use my lifeline and phone my olives every time.

No comments: