Have you ever eaten olives on the top of pizzas or pasta bakes when they have accidentally become slightly shrivelled up and dried out?
I know this sounds disgusting and maybe to you it is. But Let me take you on a journey and explain….. It all started a long, long time ago when (not to quote Adele or anything ) we were young, carefree and had nothing better to do than decide which restaurant we were going to go to for dinner or what we were going to cook for supper.
We would browse endlessly through The Metro, VisitLondon and TripAdvisor reading reviews and making lists of places we wanted to visit At lunch breaks at work I would try and find cosy pubs in the winter near the river and beer gardens in the summer where we could enjoy the unique hazy days found in cities.
Food was a big thing, we had plenty of disposable income and sourced fresh ingredients locally.
One day we went out for dinner at a local wood fired pizza place in north west London. It was ok slash average. I ordered my favourite pizzas – olives and anchovies (is there an Italian name for this?) Instead of the usual black olives, they were green and instead of being plump and juicy, they were shrivelled up and dry with a crust right on top from the heat. They were like little bullets of salt which kind of melted in your mouth. it was an utter revelation!
The next day I got one of those massive jars or pimento stuffed olives, which I know have loads of salt added to them in the process somewhere along the line (and compared to fresh, handpicked olives my parents bring back from the trees in Italy they are probably utterly gross) which I am also aware is bad for you. BUT these are wayyyy salty little balls of joy – a little once in a while won’t hurt right?
I basically turn my oven up high, sprinkle the olives evenly over a baking tray and shove them in, checking after about 20 mins.
They come out maybe after about 40 minutes, all the moisture has dried from them out and they take on a new texture, soft and melty.
You know when they are ready because they turn a brown colour and if you drop them on a baking tray they make a noise!
I have never tried with black olives or stoned ones, but its worth a go. Olives are so inexpensive these days and what s the worst that could happen?
Final warning, they are super salty and you probably don’t want to eat more than a couple, with a cold beer or cider. But what they are great for is to chop up and sprinkle into a salad with seeds, tomatoes grilled pepper and rocket. Be sure to add them right at the end or they will go all soft.
I don’t usually put the oven on just for these, they are usually bunged in when I have something else which needs a high temperature and long time to cook.
I definatly think these are an acquired taste so it’s not for everyone, if you like anchovies and capers, give these a go and let me know what you think!