Olive and Shallot Relish; 500th Post!!!

Olive and Shallot Relish

How many olive trees are there in Spain?

Rumor has it that the actual number is a bit less than the official number.

The story goes that when the Powers That Be came to the south of Spain to offer financial aid and general assistance to the olive growers, they first needed to determine how many trees each grower owned. 

Each owner would take the official to the top of a hill and, waving their arms, would proclaim that all of the visible trees on all of the visible hills were his and claim the subsidies accordingly.

His neighbor would be one hilltop over, proclaiming the same thing.

There was a bit of overlap….

Regardless of who owns them, when you are in the olive growing regions of southern Spain all you see are olive groves, miles and miles and miles of them.

Spain has more olive trees and produces more olive oil than any other country in the world.

And they eat rather a lot of olives, as well.

Normally they are whole, but occasionally they'll be stuffed with anchovies or almonds; less commonly with pimiento.

In almost any bar or restaurant in Spain (and Andorra) the first thing that goes on the table, before your order is taken, is a bowl of olives.

Olive are picked in the fall and early winter.  We were staying just outside of Jaen and they were harvesting black olives.  After spreading a large cloth underneath the tree a machine would come along and shake the tree.  The ripe olives fell off onto the cloth.

I was so dissillsioned…. Where's the romance in shaking a tree?

Olives are inedible fresh; they must be treated with lye and/or brined before they can be eaten.  Additionally they can be marinated and flavored with herbs, spices and vinegars.

Olive are high in iron, vitamin E, copper, and heart-healthy mono-saturated fats.

If you are a reader of this blog, you know I have a fondness for olives.  I put them in salads, use them as garnish for almost everything, and add them to pastas.

So do a lot of other people.

But I also cook with them.

Like Braised Potatoes with Rosemary and Olives; and Pork with White Wine, Olives and Sage.

Warm olives are wonderful; the heat brings out subtle flavors.

This warm Olive and Shallot Relish is great as an accompaniment to grilled or roasted meats and fish.

Or served on crostini with a slice of goat cheese.

Or mixed in with some lightly steamed green beans.

Or right off the spoon (wait, did I just type that???  I did admit to a fondness for olives, right?)

This is for Weekend Herb Blogging, founded by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen and hosted this week by Marija, of Palachinka.   Visit her blog on Monday for all of the wonderful recipes!

Olive and Shallot Relish

Olive and Shallot Relish

2 shallots
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
1 tsp fennel seeds
3 tbs chopped dry Greek olives
3 tbs chopped green olives
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs lemon juice
4 tbs white wine 

Chop shallots and garlic. Heat oil in small nonstick skillet. Add shallot and garlic and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add fennel seeds and herbs and sauté 1 minute longer. Add olives, lemon and wine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat, put into a small serving bowl. Best served warm.

Did I mention this is my 500th post? 

Who would have thought I would have that much to say…. (anyone who knows me…)

21 thoughts on “Olive and Shallot Relish; 500th Post!!!”

  1. Mmmm….yummy! I love olives too. That’s the second time this week I’ve heard about them harvesting by shaking the tree. Another crop is cherries. Can you believe that? It’s such a supergenious idea, even if it’s not romantic. I mentioned it to my husband and he said they started doing that with nuts: specifically pecans and walnuts first and now have moved on to softer items. I think those kinds of “how are our world works” things are so interesting.

  2. Happy 500th! (post, that is)
    This relish looks great. I’ve made a couple of versions of tapenade that weren’t quite what I was looking for. Maybe this is what I was really wanting.

  3. Marija, you’re welcome… and thank you for hosting!
    Zoomie, thanks… and yours is one of mine;-))
    Glenna, I can’t believe that cherries are done that way, too. Olives are hard…
    Lulu, thanks… I hope this works for you…
    JO, let me know how you like it!

  4. Wonderful olive post. I love the information you provide – your blog is always such an interesting read. Congrats on hitting 500 postings. That a really big number! And you’re still keeping it interesting, informative, and frequently hilarious.

  5. Olives are one of my favourite foods. I am dangerous around the olive bar in Whole Paycheck and Balducci’s.
    500 posts! That is amazing. Congrats my friend.

  6. OH Glenna and Katie,
    One of my favourite things when I’m home in N. Michigan this time of the year is to watch them shake the cherry trees.
    For some reason, watching the trees shake always makes me laugh. Even after 40 years, I keep expecting the Lorax to hop out from the tree and yell, “Quit shaking my home!”

  7. Well done on the 500th Post!!! And another lovely looking recipe for me to put in my to try folder. 🙂 Looking forward to reading at least the next 500 posts too.

  8. Thanks, Mike. I never would have guessed I’d make it that long. Must be the olives!
    Pam, thanks!
    Jerry, and amazing – for me, that is…
    Lynn, thanks for the kind words ;-))
    Marie, who knows? I remember being stumped on my 3rd post…
    breadchick, do you snitch when no one’s looking?!?!? I would giggle watching them shake the trees
    Pat, thanks… Oh, the pressure ;-))
    I’ll try, Val…

  9. Happy 500 posts! I love the story about the overlapping ownership of the olive trees. I’d love to see how the olives are harvested. Love the idea of olives and shallots combined in a relish too.

  10. LOL at the olive story – rings very true! And OMG does that relish ever sound fabulous… It’s already been bookmarked. I also love cokign with olives – they go surprisingly well with all sorts of foods. I have a recipe for whole trout en papilotte with olives, or seabass with fennel and olives, or a gooey tomatoey chicken casserole with chorizo and olives. We could probably start oliveholics anonymous.
    Oh, and strangely until I was about 10 I thought all olives came stuffed with pimentos!

  11. Oh my! oh my! oh my!! This looks fabulous. I adore oil-cured black olives. (I’m assuming that that is what the dry Greek olives are?) And the green ones you used, are they Kalamatas? Or are they those amazing brine cured green olives? (We only see those around Christmas time in some of the Italian stores – they’re bright green, beautifully perfumed and taste a little of sweet spices.)
    P.S. I just googled and see that brine-cured green olives may have myrtle berries added. Are they what offer the perfumed flavour?
    P.P.S. I would love to see the olive tree shaking harvest! Of course, it would be more thrilling to see people shaking the trees rather than a machine.
    P.P.P.S. I forgot to gloat on my 500th post. I just posted my 563rd post. (nyah nyah! I win in the verbosity contest… :-D)

  12. Kalyn, in that part of the world, if you stand on a hill all you see are olive trees. It’s amazing!
    Jeanne, I’ll put olives in anything… eggs, roasts, soups, anything!
    Elizabeth, I forget all the ones between 100 and 500 so I thought I’d mark that one… Now I’ll wait til 1,000 – race ya!
    You probably have a better selection of olives than I do. Yes, it’s the oil-cured that I used. We got fantastic olives in Spain… Sigh…

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