Posts Tagged ‘Kalamata olives’

I love olives!  In our many specialty food stores around Manhattan you can peruse tubs of multi-colored, multi-cultural flavorful cured olives – Greek, Italian, Tunisian, Spanish, and California.  None of them have even the faintest resemblance to the soft, almost-tasteless canned variety of my childhood, Thankfully!  I often buy pitted black kalamata olives and then doctor them up at home which can also do with the pedestrian canned.  They are terrific to always have on hand for a cocktail tidbit or to add a little bit of zip to a salad.  The other night I made a vinaigrette based on some pancetta that I had fried to a crisp, added a bit of orange juice and herb vinegar to the frying pan and then finished it off with some nice green olive oil.  Tossed it into a mix of frisee, watercress, olives, and orange segments for a refreshing first course for an informal get-together.

4 cups Greek or Italian black or green olives – pitted or not, as you like
2 tablespoons red chile flakes
2 tablespoons minced garlic or roasted garlic
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon dried fines herbes
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Approximately 2 cups extra virgin olive oil

Combine the olives with the chile flakes, garlic, orange zest, rosemary, and fines herbes in a mixing bowl.  Whisk the vinegar into the olive oil in another bowl.  Pack the olives into a clean container,  pour the olive oil mix over the top, cover, and store, refrigerated, for up to 2 months.  It is a good idea to let the olives marinate for a day or two before serving.


Read Full Post »

Some weeks ago I got it in my head to try to find what used to be normal-sized chickens – those about 2 to 2½ pounds.  An impossibility!  You can find a chicken breast half that weighs almost that much but no delicate little birds are to be found anywhere.  So, my best buddy Lynn and I cornered Chrissy Chiacchia from Gaia’s Breath Farm (for mail orders try mtoro@wildblue.net) at the Cooperstown Farmers Market and she agreed to produce 3 small chickens for me to try.

This past weekend the chickens came home to roost and, although by now I had forgotten exactly what I had planned to do with them, they found their way into a spur-of-the-moment on the grill dish.  I had a container of Kalamata olives and a small jar of 3 preserved lemons from Kalustyan’s (www.kalustyans.com). The combination of the smoke from the grill (we only use hardwood charcoal) and the wonderful farm-fresh flavor of the chicken wedded to the punguent, salty lemons and olives made for a very memorable meal.  It didn’t hurt that we had a chilled bottle of Veuve Clicquot to toast our good fortune.

This recipe should serve 6 people unless you are used to giant pieces of chicken – it would then feed 4 amply.  And, if you don’t have a grill handy, it would work just fine in the oven.

            Three 2 to 2½ pound chickens, rinsed and patted dry

3 small fresh spring onions

1 cup white wine

 ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

3 preserved lemons with their preserving liquid

1 cup Kalamata olives

About 2 to 3 tablespoons torn fresh mint leaves

About 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

About 1 tablespoon torn fresh sage leaves

About 1 tablespoon torn fresh basil leaves

   Whatever chicken giblets that came with the chickens except the livers

About 2 pounds small new potatoes, cut in half

Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the grill.  If using charcoal as we do, build a hot fire on one side of the grill and place the grill racks on.  I don’t have any real experience with gas grills but would imagine you could heat one side of a gas grill as well.

Place an onion in the cavity of each chicken.

Place the chickens in a large baking dish – I used my largest cast iron skillet.  Pour in the wine and olive oil.

Slice the lemons, crosswise, and randomly place the slices around the chickens and into the liquid.  Add the olives and herbs to the pan along with the giblets.

Nestle the potatoes around the chickens.

Pour whatever preserved lemon liquid that remains in the container over the chickens and then liberally sprinkle pepper over all.

Place the pan on the grill away from the fire.  Cover and roast, adding coals to keep the fire at about 400ºF for the first hour.  Continue to roast for about another 30 minutes or until the chickens are golden brown and cooked through.  The fire can be less hot for the final 30 minutes.

Remove from the grill and let rest for a few minutes.  Cut each chicken in half and serve with the potatoes, lemon slices, and olives and any pan juices.


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: