This week I have been sent a hamper by OLIVES FROM SPAIN with the idea of creating one or more marinades perfectly suited to flavour their olives. The winning olive marinade will be featured on their Facebook page HERE.
Before I tell you about my marinades, I should just say that since a very young age both olives and gherkins have been two of my absolute favourite foods in terms of flavour. I love sharp, sour and salty as well as bitter. Hence my love of all things olive, gherkin and Campari!
Now what I have done with the olives is to go with three separate themes. Both me and my husband had a big tasting session last night and neither of us found it easy to choose a winner. That is because each of the marinades tasted as good as the next.
Maybe you could tell me which one you would choose out of the three?
Marinade 1 features a Moroccan influence :-
Green olives, a handful of sliced Medjool dates,1 cinnamon stick broken into 3 pieces, the zest of an orange finely shredded, Star anise, Organic dried rose petals and lots of Spanish olive oil. The flavours definitely have a Moorish influence. The sweet dates worked perfectly with the salty olives and the orange added a fresh note with a hint of perfume from the rose petals.
Marinade 2 features a Thai influence :-
Green & black olives, a knob of ginger peeled and very finely chopped, a stick of lemongrass chopped really fine, 3 hot red chillies sliced in half, a pinch of coriander seeds lightly crushed and lots of Spanish olive oil. Although the flavours are bold they actually produce a rather subtle marinade with hints of the Thai flavours which is just what I wanted to achieve. Most importantly, you can still taste the flavour of the olives.
Marinade 3 features a Spanish influence :-
Black olives, 1/2 a block of Manchgo cheese cut into cubes, 1tbsp chopped fresh thyme, a few fennel seeds,3 cloves of garlic chopped in half, a generous glug of good Spanish Sherry and lots of good Spanish olive oil. Although the flavours may seem a little more simple here what really takes this marinade onto a higher level of flavour is the Sherry. I have become a huge Sherry fan since eating and drinking at Jose Pizzarro so I knew I had to feature it here. Again the flavours are soft yet rich and moreish.
Each of these marinated olive dishes would require you to have a very good loaf of bread to go with them. Some delicious Spanish Chorizo and Jamon would also be the perfect partners as would a lightly sparkling bottle of Cordoniu Brut Rose Cava. Lucky for me there was a bottle packed into my hamper.
So this weekend will the festive celebrations are going Spanish in our house. It was my husband’s birthday on Monday so as a little extra treat I will be creating a Spanish tapas evening for us to enjoy featuring all the dishes and ingredients I have talked about along with some Croquetas. Those addictive little melting nuggets of ham and cheese.
OLIVES FROM SPAIN is a site dedicated to the Spanish olive and is packed full of information and recipes featured by Omar Allibhoy. Omar trained under Ferran Adria at El Bulli and now runs Tapas Revolution , one of London’s best Tapas Restaurants.
- Many thanks to Olives from Spain for sending me a bumper packed hamper full of goodies for me to play around and be creative with.