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Sep 19, 2011 06:20 AM

Substitute for olives

My husband hates olives - won't even let them in the house. Black, green, all of them are banned, even if I remove them from his plate when serving. I have a couple new recipes I want to try that would really benefit from that fruity, salty, briny flavor addition. I thought about capers, but wanted to see if anyone else had a good idea for a substitute ingredient. Thanks for your ideas.

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  1. I think capers are your best bet, maybe giardiniera. I can't believe you're not even allowed to have olives in the house because your husband hates them!!

    1. This may not help you much unless your husband is the willing-to-try type. But I used to hate olives and I learned to like them very simply and easily.

      By the way the reason I wanted to do this is because olives crop up in a lot of dishes in restaurants these days and they used to make me feel really ill because I disliked them so much which could really ruin a meal! Plus so many people raved about them, I wanted to be able to enjoy them too, or least not be sickened by them!

      All I did was eat one olive a day for about 2 weeks. At first it was horrible. My whole family laughed at my "daily dose of olive". About a week in I was used to it. I no longer gagged, they just tasted funny. After 10 days or so I was actually kind of looking forward to my olive. I didn't really like the flavour that much but the salty-olivey hit was quite satisfying. So for the last few days I did 2 olives a day.

      From then on olives no longer sickened me and in fact I've grown to rather like some kinds, though others still are a bit too strong for me. I still prefer green over black, as I think they are milder? Or am I making that up? I keep my "olive immunity" topped up by eating a few a week :)

      3 Replies
      1. re: Muchlove

        That's awesome. What a great way to try to learn to like, or at least tolerate, a food that does not appeal to one's palate.

        1. re: Jen76

          I know that for me, and several people I know, olive tapenade was a good gateway drug to liking olives.

          Warm marinated olives (with some citrus zest, olive oil, rosemary, etc.) are also good, and of course convincing him to try some different types -- something green with a firm texture like Castellano or Lucques might be a good place to start.

        2. re: Muchlove

          I admire your fortitude! I can't imagine life without olives. No picadillo, no Chicken Marbella! Oh my!

        3. Sorry to hear that you can't share your love of olives with your husband.

          Capers was also my first thought, particularly the 'meatier' caper berries which will approximate some of that wonderful piquancy that olives have.

          For something else that approximates that salty, briny and slightly chewy texture (but without the bitter/sour olive taste, alas) have you tried lupin 'beans'?

          In Spain they are called altramuces and these are the closest thing I know to eating olives - great with wine or beer. I can find them quite easily ready brined in Portuguese delicatessens (as well as Spanish stores) in London. In Portuguese they are called tremo├žos.
          When eating them you slip off the tough skin and eat the interior.
          If you like the briny quality and the texture of olives you're probably going to like these. Even your husband might enjoy them.

          Here's the wikipedia entry for them

          If you're only able to get dried lupin beans, let me know. I have a recipe given to me by a Spanish uncle for preparing them. It is a bit of a long process though.

          1. Keep the olives....

            ....replace the husband.

            3 Replies
            1. re: PotatoHouse

              Love that idea!

              What about pickled carrot pieces or pickled onions?

              1. re: PotatoHouse

                Gotta agree. What does he like that you can forbid him to bring into your house? Tit for tat.

                1. re: Leepa

                  Actually, bananas. I can't stand them - taste or smell - so they were banned until my first child. I've learned to tolerate smelling and handling them for his sake, but I still won't eat them. So it's only fair - we all have our "things".

              2. depending on the recipe, anchovies might work too.

                2 Replies
                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  Inspired by this suggestion I've just done an experiment in the kitchen.
                  I combined blanched almonds, capers (salted not in vinegar) and some anchovy in a small food processor to get a thick paste. Added a little olive oil and then a TEENY touch of lemon juice and an even teenier slither of garlic. I've ended up with a rather 'meaty' tapenade. It sort of tastes like olives.
                  I'm having some now on toasted bread pieces with a small glass of sherry.
                  Very grateful to this thread!

                  1. re: MoGa

                    or there's the classic bagna cauda for salads and bread-dipping, which is very similar to what you made: fresh basil, garlic, capers, anchovies, olive oil - puree and inhale