Bring a little Sicily to your table with this delicious Green Marinated Sicilian Olives Recipe. The olives are infused with fresh herbs, garlic, dried oregano, a pinch of chili pepper for heat all smothered in extra virgin olive oil and white vinegar dressing. They are perfect for an upscale cocktail party or a special treat on a healthy charcuterie board.
What are Sicilian olives?
What makes these olives special is they are grown in Sicily. After the harvest, they are washed in lye for several hours to lose their bitter taste. Then, they are repeatedly washed with normal water to remove the lye. When all traces of lye are washed off, the olives are packed in a light brine. This production method also preserves the vibrant green color of the olives. Even if they are cured, they still assume a brown-greenish color.
They have an extremely mild flavor, almost sweet, with a touch of buttery fruitiness. They are grown as a dual-purpose olive, both for oil and for table olives
Why are Sicilian olives so green?
The Sicilian green olives are naturally green when harvested ripe. They retain their rich green color and mild flavor by keeping them stored in a citric brine preserving solution. This solution also helps eliminate any shriveling “prune effect” or discoloration.
Are Sicilian olives the same as Castelvetrano olives?
Sicilian is another name for Castelvetrano olives. They are also called Nocellara de Belice, after an olive cultivar from the Valle del Belice area of southwestern Sicily.
What makes them, all the same, is they are all from olive trees exclusively in Belice Valley, in western Sicily, in the surrounding Castelventrano.
Where can Sicilian olives be purchaced?
In the United States, you can purchase them in some grocery chains or gourmet shops. You can also order them easily off Amazon and have them sent right to your door.
Should the olives be pitted?
The olive could be pitted or not. If the pits are removed, it is easier to serve the olives in a salad or on a pizza. However, it’s fine to leave the pits in if they are being served as an appetizer, and there is a place for guests to put the pits when eating them.
HOW TO PIT AN OLIVE
1. Working with one at a time, place an olive on a cutting board. Place the flat side of a large chef’s knife over the olive.
2. Place the heel of your hand on the knife right over where the olive is sitting underneath. Put your weight into it and press down firmly until you feel the olive give way.
3. Set the knife aside and inspect the olive. You are looking for the flesh to have a flattened and broken area around the pit. Use your fingers to pull the flesh apart and separate the pit from the flesh of the olive.
If you prefer you could also pit an olive with an olive pitter.
What fresh herbs are used?
Using fresh herbs will infuse the most flavor to this recipe. Fresh parsley and basil are both easy to get in your local produce section. Be sure and wash them first, then pick the leave from the stems. Finely chop with a sharp knife. You could also stack bunches together and slice them into small pieces using kitchen scissors.
What type of garlic should be used?
It is best to use only whole fresh garlic cloves taken from a garlic bulb for this recipe. Slice the root end off and peel the outer paper-like skin off. Then thinly slice each clove into pieces.
What type of olive oil should be used?
Olive oil is like wine. It tastes different due to the growing conditions, variety, and climate. For this recipe, I like using an oil from the same region as the olives are from, Sicily.
Variations of the recipe
- Add one tablespoon of lemon zest.
- Mix in 1/4 cup pimento pepper pieces.
- If you would like it spicier, add 1 cored and seeded diced jalapeno pepper.
- My favorite, 1 tablespoon finely diced anchovies.
How to serve
These Sicilian marinated olives are the perfect addition when creating an olive bar at your next party.
They would also be perfect on a Mediterranean Quinoa Salad.
After you make the marinated olives, they are best stored in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. They should be refrigerated and then allowed to come to room temperature before serving.
Green Marinated Sicilian Olives Recipe
- 2 cups green Sicilian olives unpitted or pitted
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 cup celery coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon chile pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley fresh, chopped
- 2 tablespoons basil fresh, chopped
- 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano dried
- Rinse olives in a colander under running water. Place the olives on a towl and gently pat dry. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Pour olive oil over the olives and then toss using a spoon.
- Add celery, garlic, chili pepper flakes, parsley, basil, oregano, and wite-wine vinegar. Stir until all olives are coated evenly.
- Let the olives stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Serve the olives with a sprinkle of fresh parsey and chili pepper flakes on top.
- Place any leftover olives in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate. Use within a week.
*VARIATIONS FOR THE RECIPE
- Add one tablespoon of lemon zest
- Mix in 1/4 cup pimento pepper pieces
- If you would like it spicier add 1 cored and seeded diced jalapeno pepper
- My favorite, 1 tablespoon finely diced anchovies