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What to do with Canned Black Olives?

FoodFuser Apr 13, 2007 09:57 PM

I recently made and served a tapenade (from Kalamatas) to some folks, one of whom had never experienced tapenade.

As a thank you, she has just gifted me with 12 (twelve) cans of whole black olives, thinking that they were the ingredient that she had enjoyed (..."So you'll always have some on hand"...) This was such a sweet gesture that I did not explain about Kalamatas versus canned.

So now the gauntlet has been dropped in the form of twelve cans of Jumbos and Smalls. I'd like to hear about some ways to use them that highlight their relative blandness and buttery texture, and also ways that perk them up. Would I have preferred a gift of brined and oil cured from the olive bar at the Italian market?.... Sure. But this is a gift of Karma, and I am up for the challenge. But I need help. The expiration date is in less than a year, so we gotta move fast.

  1. b
    berna Apr 16, 2007 06:41 PM

    Steam or grill some calamari, cool and cut int rings. Add some chopped celery, roasted red peppers and sliced (canned) black olives. Toss with salt and pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. Great summer salad!

    1. purple goddess Apr 15, 2007 10:49 PM

      drain them well and make olive and sundried tomato bread. Or olive and parm bread. Or olive and walnut bread.

      Hell, with 12 cans, make all three variations and a few more.

      1. q
        Querencia Apr 15, 2007 09:05 PM

        Personally I use kalamatas but my grandma used to make a sandwich filling of cream cheese, chopped (ordinary) black olives, and chopped pecans. You eat this on whole wheat bread. It's very Birthday Party.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Querencia
          bigjimbray Apr 15, 2007 10:45 PM

          I mainly use them when my grandaughters come over. they love to put them on their
          fingers a eat them that way. or I put them my tamale pie.. I also chop them up and
          use them in my macaroni salad. or my stuffing for chicken or turkey. Or you can
          go to the california olive assn. website. they have alot of recipes there.

        2. FoodFuser Apr 15, 2007 08:40 PM

          OP here. Thanks to all for these wonderful ideas. Every one of them dovetails with the orientation of my taste buds.

          I've been musing about 2 more classes of recipes, both of which highlight the extremely uniform shape/size of each olive along with the smoothly drilled center hole.

          1) Something skewered, like yakitori lined up on a stick; certainly stuffed but also perhaps coated on the exterior. A fried breaded thing? Coated and baked?

          2) Something that's roughly the size of small egg, with a central surprise of the olive inside, or the olive just emergent at one end to show its symmetry and machined hole. My mind hasn't been able to get farther than some kind of meatball paste as the exterior, or maybe a gyoza/shumai type of filling, smeared smoothly around the ovoid shape. Would egg whites in the meat paste help it hold its form around the olive?

          Do those two spark any ideas?

          1. a
            A Petit Apr 15, 2007 01:01 AM

            I usually add them to pasta with sauteed shallots and garlic, 1-inch bacon pieces, some brocolli and parmesan.

            1. m
              markethej Apr 14, 2007 11:09 PM

              Some sort of white fish filet wth a little heft to it- i.e., sea bass, striped bass, scrod. don't know where you live, so choices vary. Chop the olives, mix with chopped tomatoes, add some olive oil.

              Prepare a piece of tin foil with some olive oil. Place the fillet on the foil, turn the edges of the foil up a bit. Top the fish with the olive mixture. Add a splash of white wine. Seal the tin foil into a pouch. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

              1. t
                twinmommy Apr 14, 2007 07:02 PM

                I chop them up for a pasta salad that I make w/ chopped cashews, raw broccoli florets and baby corn.

                1. Will Owen Apr 14, 2007 06:50 PM

                  Here's one thing I love that these things go well in. You can actually use more, but my wife doesn't like olives at all so I dialed back the amount for her.

                  Cod Stew Provençal

                  1/2 lb. salt cod, soaked and freshened
                  3 smallish White Rose potatoes
                  1/2 med. onion, or one small
                  6 canned whole green chiles, Ortega preferred
                  3 ripe Roma tomatoes
                  1 small can sliced black olives
                  1/2 cup+ olive oil
                  red wine vinegar
                  salt, pepper, Herbes de Provence, Spanish smoked paprika

                  Scrub potatoes if they need it. Place into 2 1/2 qt. pot of cold water, cover. Bring to boil, uncover, salt heavily, and boil for ten minutes. Drain and chill in cold water; peel when cool enough to handle and cut into bite-sized chunks. Cut up codfish similarly, likewise the chiles and tomatoes. Put into a big bowl.

                  Chop the onion coarsely and put on to cook in the half-cup of oil. When it starts simmering pretty well, reduce heat and cover for five minutes or so, then stir in grindings of black pepper, a large pinch of Herbes de Provence and about a half-teaspoon of the paprika. Stir that over heat for a while then dump it in with the rest of the stuff, and follow with the olives. Stir everything together, salt to taste, then transfer it to a coverable casserole dish, preferably one just large enough to contain it with an inch or so of headroom. Drool a bit more olive oil over all, followed by some sprinkling of vinegar. Cover and place in middle of a cold oven. Set heat to 350º. Take it out in an hour and set it on a hot tray for another half-hour, unless you can't control yourself. After this you might want to have some pastis while you go out and play a little petanque...

                  Note: last time I did this I soaked a pinch of saffron threads for a while, then stirred them in before putting the dish in the oven. It sort of took it out of Provence and slid it over to Spain. Very nice.

                  1. foodchick45 Apr 14, 2007 11:51 AM

                    If you don't care for them in mexican dishes or on pizza, the best thing to do is donate them to a local soup kitchen or food bank. We also love them in my hubby's homemade spaghetti sauce.

                    1. ArikaDawn Apr 14, 2007 11:44 AM

                      Not terribly creative, but I had some on hand and threw them in with a sort of cold antipasto salad. Even though I do not typically love black olives, my SO enjoyed the addition and so did I. That evening the salad consisted of romaine, black olives, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, a lil' genoa salami, turkey pepperoni, parmesan, hot mix, and a drizzle of vinegarette. Salty bliss. I have also been served black olives as an addition to a Mexican bean dip. Again, nothing fancy, but good eats.

                      1. y
                        Youffraita Apr 14, 2007 06:54 AM

                        Try them in a red pasta sauce; you can either use them to doctor a commercial sauce or toss them in when you do a quickie sauce from crushed tomatoes. Otherwise -- do you make pizza a lot?

                        1. m
                          mojoeater Apr 14, 2007 12:18 AM

                          They don't have the tang and texture of kalamata, but they can be good. Sometimes when I make burrito filling (ground beef/chicken/turkey with jalapeno/serrano/habenero and onion), I add some sliced black olives to the meat while cooking, plus my favorite spices, and whatever veggies I may want (such as corn, bell peppers, etc.). When it's all rolled in a tortilla with guac, cheese, salsa, sourcream, or whatever, the olives add a texture that works very well.

                          1. c
                            coconutz Apr 13, 2007 11:32 PM

                            Just an honest answer--I think they ruin anything they are put into. I can pick them out of enchiladas, but chopped into cream cheese would really waste it. I think they taste a bit of the can. I'd save them for 'relish trays' when children or old people are over. I think kids like them because the blandness suits the sensitive palate.

                            1. BarmyFotheringayPhipps Apr 13, 2007 11:28 PM

                              My late mother in law, a woman of varied and refined tastes, loved chopped canned black olives mixed with cream cheese and served on baguette slices or crackers. Myself, I would add a crushed clove of garlic to that, or perhaps a big pinch of cayenne.

                              1. Kitchen Queen Apr 13, 2007 11:22 PM

                                Labor intense I know but, how about stuffing some with a squirt of smoked salmon and creme fraiche/or Philly's smoked salmon cream cheese. Then mix in a few your favs and throw atop a dish of arugula, call it an olive salad. (Assuming they're pitted).

                                Also, you can chop some and add to a pasta sauce, red or white (alfredo). :)KQ

                                1. rworange Apr 13, 2007 10:42 PM

                                  Muffaletta? Topping for pizza? Nachos? Mixed with cream cheese?

                                  I like canned black olives, but this was a good idea ... marinating them with minced garil, olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and a splash of scotch.

                                  Using that idea, you could probably think of lots of great maridanes.

                                  I also read that roasting canned olives will change their taste and texture ... I mean what do you have to lose ... you got the olives, so give it a try

                                  Roast a can of black olives drizzeld with olive oil in a 425 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Sprinkle with herbs and mix with garlic cloves before putting in the oven.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: rworange
                                    esmom Apr 16, 2007 04:51 AM

                                    Growing up, my dad always kept a jar in the back of the fridge that was filled with a drained can of these, roughly chopped garlic, salt (perhaps a dash of msg) and lemon juice. It was his snack when he go home from work and the go to tapa when someone stopped by.

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