Green Olives

(“Olive Verdi” - “Alivi Bianchi”)

 

The olive trees are cultivated in the entire Island and many trees are well over a few centuries.
The fruits of this tree are mostly pressed into oil but large quantities are processed and eaten pickled. 
The olives are very bitter and to become edible they must go through a procedure of curing with salt, or vinegar, or soaked in a lye solution and fermented in brine. The type of curing and the time in which the olives are picked will produce either black or green olives.  
The green olives are picked before ripening, soaked in a lye solution, rinsed and covered with water then cured in a brine solution (water and salt). 
The black olives are picked ripe, allowed to ferment in a brine or vinegar solution and when they are mature, packed in oil or vinegar.
I must mention another type of olive which I like a lot, the dry cured. They are picked very ripe, allowed to slowly ferment by sprinkling with salt and when most of their moisture is eliminated, they are rubbed with olive oil and garnished with rosemary. They are slightly bitter but once you acquire a taste you will love them! 
Since I can remember, at dinner time, my mother placed in two small dishes some green olives “cunsati”- seasoned and dressed-, and some dry black olives, as part of the table setting.
Below are some of the classic Sicilian ways to prepare green olives.

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Green Olives Salad

(“Olive Verdi Condite”– “Alivi Bianchi Cunzati”)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Lb. olives rinsed and cracked  
  • 1 cup diced celery 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed 
  • ½ cup of olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar 
  • black pepper, red crushed pepper, and oregano to taste 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley 
  • a few parsley sprigs for garnish 

 

PREPARATION 
Mix all ingredients, and if possible let it stand a few hours to exchange the taste of the various ingredients. Garnish with parsley sprigs

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Olives with Capers

(“Olive Verdi con Capperi”– “Alivi chi Chiappareddi”)

INGREDIENTS

 

  • 1 Lb. olives rinsed and cracked  
  • 2 oz. of small capers in salt, rinsed well 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley 
  • Pinch of red pepper 
  • Pinch of oregano 
  • 1 clove of garlic sliced 
  • 5 to 10 mint leaves 
  • ½ cup of olive oil 
  • Juice of ½ lemon 
  • 1 cup of toasted breadcrumb 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley 
  • a few mint sprigs for garnish 

 

                     PREPARATION 

 

Combine in a bowl the first 9 ingredients, and mix well.
Blend in the bread crumb and parsley and set aside a few minutes, to bring together the taste of the various ingredients. 
Garnish with mint sprigs, before serving.

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Pitted Green Olives Syracuse Style

(“Olive Verdi alla Siracusana”– “Alivi Bianchi Ammaccate ”)

 

INGREDIENTS

 

 

  • 1 Lb. olives rinsed, cracked and pits removed.  
  • ½ cup of olive oil 
  • 3 tablespoons of vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed fennels seeds 
  • black pepper to taste 
  • chunks of fresh hot peppers or crushed red pepper to taste 
  • oregano to taste 
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley 
  • 2 oz. of small capers in salt, rinsed well 
  • 4 tablespoons of freshly toasted breadcrumbs 
  • 10 mint leaves 
  • a few mint sprigs for garnish 

 

                        PREPARATION

 

In a large bowl, combine the olives, with the oil, vinegar, black and red pepper, the garlic and oregano. Mix well, and add the parsley and capers. Blend in the toasted breadcrumbs and the mint leaves.
Let it stand a few hours, in a cool place.
Serve at room temperature and garnish with mint sprigs.