Strange But Good: Olive or None

August 31, 2015

Meaty, briny, and the hottest thing to add to your—well, maybe anything.


Olives are so often one of the mystery jars in my refrigerator—pickley and slimy and a little eyeball-like in their murky solution. And, like their brined brethren the pickle, they're good—and so funky—in everything from salads and sandwiches to cocktails. We asked the Hotline: How do you put your olives (and their brine) to good use? Here's what the community said:

  • Chop them up and add them to a grain salad.
  • Stuff pitted olives with blue cheese (or feta, or meat)! And deep-fry them if you dare.
  • PieceOfLayerCake often chops them up and puts them into breads and scones. Her favorite combination: a black olive, rosemary, and feta whole wheat scone.
  • Warm them in oil and spices and serve alongside a glass of wine and/or some chorizo.
  • Inpatskitchen folds chopped olives right into ground chuck for burgers—and then tops them with more olives.
  • Blitz olives into a punchy tapenade and serve in a spread of tapas.
  • And bigpan says that you can add sun-dried black olives to anything that involves tomato sauce. Amysarah said that pasta puttanesca is the way to go.
  • Amysarah also said that egg salad (or, says caninechef, chicken or tuna salad) with black olives and anchovies is heaven—especially with a fat slice of tomato.
  • Lindsay-Jean said that Lauren Kelley made her love black olive-and-mayonnaise sandwiches, but that her heart belongs to green olive-and-cream cheese sandwiches (a favorite of my father's; he'd argue it would have to be on a toasted English muffin).
  • Or make a simple Genius panino with lemon and black olives.
  • Chop them into a salad—no leafy greens needed.
  • Braise meats, like chicken or duck, with olives right in the pan.
  • WileyP could eat a cheesy olive bread every day, for every meal.

Photo by James Ransom

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Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.