About stuffed olives
This is a simple original recipe for making garlic-stuffed olives with brine-cured black olives red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, and rosemary. They are meant to be served cold. With a zing of garlic and the slight tanginess of the olives, these make a delicious snack with a burst of flavor that kisses your palate.
The garlic and red pepper are pan-roasted, which takes the bite out of the garlic and also helps the ingredients blend. I often roast red peppers and garlic in preparation for parties and pizzas night, making these stuffed-olives extra easy to make then.
If you are making this with black olives which tend to be softer, using a cherry pitter will help prepare the olives without having to cut into them with a knife.
Since I usually make these in small numbers for the evening at hand, the opportunity has not yet arisen to use the Cherry Stoner slap-chop technology on them. Someday. I have not tried a cherry pitter with green olives, and am not sure it will work as well.
If you use green olives and a knife, cut vertically into the olive from top to bottom through to the pit. Slide the knife around the curve of the pit until you release the entire olive from it. There will likely be a bit of olive clinging to the top and bottom of the pit. You can use this or ignore it as you choose.
Stuffed olives can be used on cheese boards, charcuterie trays, or in your favorite cocktails, such as a Dirty Martini, Caesars, or Bloody Marys. You may use your own home-cured olives or commercially prepared olives.
A bit about olives
The large green Sevillano olives originally from Spain and also grown in Southern California, are traditionally cured before the plump green olives fully mature to brown. Often referred to as a Queen Olive due to the size they can achieve, the same tree may also produce some smaller but still ripe fruit. The bags my olives come in have checkmarks for the various sizes they may be picked at. I tend to buy the largest if the option exists.
Sevilliano, or Seville, as those I buy are labeled, are the olives that are available in my part of BC. They come in twice a year most of the time. Green olives arrive anytime in October through November, and black olives anytime from mid-November to as late as December 23. I buy as many as 30lbs at a time in 10lb bags. This is fortunate, as I have had issues with supply since my last batch.
The heartbreak of logistical challenges and unpredictable supply
Getting the olives to my home requires a 4-hour trip from Cobble Hill on Vancouver Island to the mainland to purchase them. That’s an hour from my door to the ferry, followed by two hours on the water, and an hour from the ferry to Vancouver or Burnaby to buy the olives.
And then back home again, the same route in reverse. That’s dedication. Or possibly obsession. Either way, I have great olives.
The entire process is a bit dicey, as there is never any warning as to the date of shipment or delivery and they sell out quickly.
Sometimes I have had a friend or relative pick olives up and hold them or bring them to me, but they still must be picked up quickly if they are to be processed at their prime. I made an extra large batch in 2019, which turned out to be very fortunate, as we were unable to travel to the mainland because of the pandemic in both 2020 and 2021. They were made in anticipation of a large party that was planned for my birthday in August of 2020 (before this became unwise).
Sadly, I missed the green olive delivery in 2022. They were unusually early and I checked to see when they were coming to find that they had been and gone. Even sadder, I was checking with the store regularly throughout November and December of 2022 primed to go at a moment’s notice to travel for black olives, but there was no shipment at all. ~weeps softly~ The 2019 olives that never got to party have held us through the past 3 years instead. They are however nearly gone with another 9 months to go before resupply is possible.
As a result, this will be The Year of Olive Tree Buying. It will take a while to get one to produce the kind of quantities I use, but one has to begin somewhere. I have resisted until now, as we don’t have a proper greenhouse to get them established, but needs must when the devil fails to drive my olives to me.
Types of stuffed olives and other appetizers
In Greece, Spain, Italy, or other olive-growing regions, olives may be served simply on a dish with olive oil. In Spain, they are often stuffed with small whole garlic cloves, slices of marinated pimento, anchovy fillets, capers, or cheese.
In addition to stuffed olives of many varieties, Spanish cuisine has given us many pintxos with olives. In Italy, olives may also be lightly dressed with balsamic vinegar as well as olive oil. Olive all’ Ascolana, a meaty classic Sicilian treat, is a golden brown deep-fried appetizer that is rich and satisfying.
Green olives or black?
Most of the time stuffed olives are made with green olives, but I see no reason to restrict myself. Black olives can be a bit more delicate to handle, but not impossible, and I like combining them with other flavors.
I will explore other stuffed and prepared olives in additional recipes to come. A quick recipe, and easily made, even a few of these add a lot of impact to a larger appetizer tray.
- cherry pitter or
- paring knife
- 10 olives
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 slice sweet red pepper
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 tsp olive oil
Brining the red pepper
- Shake salt onto the inside of the red pepper and let rest for 20 minutes, or overnight
Preparing the filling
- Put the sun-dried tomato into a bit of water or olive brine to soften it
- Heat a cast iron skillet to 350º
- When the red pepper is ready, tap the collected water off it
- Pour the olive oil into the pan. Spread the oil by tipping the pan or using a brush
- Add the red pepper to the pan skin side down. Add the garlic and cover with a lid
- Cook for 10 minutes, turning the garlic and red pepper part way through
- When the peppers and garlic are cooked, slice them and the soaked sundried tomatoes into slivers to make it easier to slipo them into the olive
- When the filling ingredients are cooked, washed and ready to use, arrange them in groupings as they will be put into the olives
Prepare the olives
- Using a cherry pitter makes this go quickly. Put the olive lengthwise into the pitter and press the plunger
- If you don't have a cherry pitter, use a paring knife. Slice into the olive lengthwise and cut around the pit to release it
- Put the olives into water or light brine to wait until they are all prepared
Stuffing the olives
- If you used a cherry pitter, you will insert the filling through the hole left by the removal of the pit
- If you used a knife, flatten the olive to lay the filling down, wrap it around the filling, and secure it with a toothpick