Elies tsakistes

Elies tsakistes

Cracked green olives

By
From
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Makes
1 jar
Photographer
Alan Benson

When we were in our teens, my two sisters and I had the chore of cracking the olives so that our mother could preserve them. While olives would not grow in our semi-tropical climate, we would receive a case from an aunt who lived in the south of our state. Our olive oil would come from there as well, especially during the Second World War.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
fresh green olives
105g rock salt, for every 1 litre water
grape vine leaves, washed
lemon slices

For serving

Quantity Ingredient
1 lemon, juiced
1 garlic clove, crushed
25g coriander seeds, coarsely pounded
60ml olive oil

Method

  1. Crack the olives by hitting each one separately with a mallet or smooth stone. Only the flesh has to be cracked, so do not hit too hard as the seed should remain intact.
  2. Place the cracked olives in a large jar (or jars) and cover with cold water. Keep the olives submerged using a small heavy plate or clean flat stone. Change the water every 24 hours. Do this four times in all.
  3. Measure the last amount of water poured from the olives before discarding. Now measure the same amount of fresh water into a large saucepan and add 105 g rock salt to each litre water. Stir over low heat until the salt has dissolved.
  4. (When the brine is cool you can check the strength of it with a fresh egg. The right saltiness is reached when the egg floats, with an area about 2.5 cm in diameter breaking the surface of the water.)
  5. Transfer the olives to a sterilised jar or jars. Pour the brine over the olives, place the grape vine leaves and lemon slices on top and seal. Leave in a cool, dark place for at least 3 weeks; the olives may be kept like this for a few months.
  6. When required, take out about 350 g olives. Any growth on top is of no importance, so long as the olives are not soft and do not show signs of decay. If the olives are soft, discard them — it may be that only those at the top are affected. Remove any fungus.
  7. Rinse the olives under cold water, drain well and place in a bowl. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the olives. Add the garlic, coriander seeds and oil. Stir well and leave for 1–2 hours for the flavours to develop.
  8. Serve as an appetiser with bread, or as an accompaniment to meals.
Tags:
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Tess
Mallos
Middle Eastern
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