Today I’m featuring some lovely recipes using olives (one of my favourite tasty treats) by Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy.
Omar grew up in Madrid and a love of cooking runs in his family. His mum was great at baking which inspired him and by eight he was selling puddings to the neighbours during the summer holidays (wish I’d lived next door to him).
He says: “Enjoying good-quality food with friends and family is so important. Whether it’s an impromptu get-togethre or to mark a special occasion, sharing good times with loved ones over tasty food and drink can bring much love, laughter and happiness.” Amen to that.
Olives play an integral role in Mediterranean cuisine and Omar’s come up with some great new, inventive recipes using one of his favourite ingredients. He’s even made them into a sweet delicacy! Enjoy
Green olive gazpacho
100g of pitted green olives
8 tomatoes, quartered
½ onion, roughly chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove
¼ cucumber, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
10 drops of Tabasco
5 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 slice of bread
1 glass water
2 tablespoons olive oil
ice cubes, croutons and olive oil, to garnish
Place all the prepared vegetables and olives in a food processor or blender. Add the cumin, sherry vinegar, bread olive oil and about 200ml of water. Add a pinch of salt and blend until very smooth (at least 5 minutes of blending)
Check the seasoning and add more salt if necessary. If you don’t like bits in your gazpacho you can pass it through a sieve at this stage
Serve in a bowl with a few ice cubes, croutons, sliced olives and a few drops of olive oil, or serve in a cocktail glass with an olive on a skewer and a few drops of olive oil
Gazpacho tastes much better when prepared in advance – the night before if possible. If you do want to sieve it, I recommend you wait until just before serving as the flavour will be much more intense if it has been left overnight with all the bits in. In summer you will find a bottle of gazpacho chilling in the fridge of pretty much every Mediterranean kitchen. Sometimes we even add a shot of vodka to enhance its potential!
Coarse pate of mixed olives, manchego cheese and pistachios
100g of pitted green and black olives
30g of manchego cheese
30g of pistachio kernels
50g of extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ a lemon
½ teaspoon of fennel seeds
A pinch of sweet pimenton
Blend all of the ingredients into a coarse mix with the help of a food processor.
Serve on toast with any other ingredient you like: piquillo peppers, tuna in oil… or use as a garnish for a pan-fried fillet of sea bass or even as a crust for a baked leg of lamb.
Candied pitted olives and cherries in sweet sherry wine
This would make a lovely gift or keep in your pantry for a sweet fix whenever you need one.
50g of pitted black olives
100g of cherries
1 cup of caster sugar
1 cup of water
1 glass of sweet sherry wine
Place a small sauce pan over high heat and add the sugar, water and olives. Let it all form a syrup and reduce down to a golden caramel
At this point add the glass of sweet sherry and the pitted cherries and let it all boil together for an extra 5 minutes. This will keep in a tight container for more than a month
For more great ideas with olives visit www.oliveit.eu