Today I'm thinking about olives. I once had an incredibly expensive appetizer of Stilton Stuffed Green Olives at a restaurant, and the next day took myself to Whole Foods to recreate the experience at a fraction of the cost. Most grocery stores around here now have olive bars with a moderate selection of olives. In my opinion these are much better than the bottled pimiento stuffed olives.
Last week, while ordering up a cupful of the green goodness (to make tagine, which requires chopped olives), the clerk apologized to me for the pits. "It's no problem" I told her, it just takes a few seconds. "It's so messy" she said to me. I had to ask, I just had to. It turned out that she peels them. So I talked to my friend who is not food addicted. She, too, peels olives.
In the off chance that any of you are peelers...lay an olive on your cutting board. Take your chef's knife and press the blade down on the olive until it gives (as if you were crushing a garlic clove). Press forward slightly to roll the olive. Separate olive from pit. Repeat. Any pits that hold onto a lot of flesh are yours to nibble on while you work. Of course, this does not work if you want to stuff olives. This is when it's time to buy the mechanically pitted ones so you have that nice cavity to stuff.
Olives have fiber, healthy fat, and look classier on an appetizer tray than a pile of smoky links (but if that's what you have cut them in half and stack them with a cheese cube and jab a toothpick through). They're great chopped into salads, sandwich spreads, pasta, and eggs.
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