Marinated Olives with Preserved Lemon Dirty Vodka Martini
Pickled and preserved
Recipes and photos by Josee Brisson
For millennia, pickling and salting have been favoured methods of food preservation in nearly every country of the world. Prior to the advent of refrigeration, they were ideal in preventing food spoilage. Today however, we mostly salt and pickle fish, meats, fruits and vegetables, for the sheer pleasure of their taste and texture.
For this recipe, I recommend you choose a good variety of olives. Always purchase unpitted olives. The flavour and texture of pitted olives becomes lost in the brine as it seeps through, causing the olives to become mushy and watery. I suggest choosing a mix of briny Greek Kalamatas, bright green and crisp Italian Castelvetrano, intensely flavoured dry cured Moroccan black olives, and another type of your choosing.
Preserved lemons are a Moroccan delicacy and often the key ingredient in tajines. These salty and fragrant citruses will soon have you dreaming of warm North-African evenings and souks filled with spices, colourful fabrics and jewels. If you have not had the pleasure of tasting them before, you will quickly discover how addictive they are! These delightful lemons are also used in North African, Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisines.
Preserved lemons are a Moroccan delicacy and often the key ingredient in tajines.
Although I suggest you pair these olives with the Preserved Lemon Dirty Vodka Martini, I am also giving you an alternative in the form of Alvear Fino en Rama, a Sherry from Montilla, Spain. I chose a Fino because it comes from the region of Andalusia, which is located across the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco — they have the same intense sun and a long historical connection. I will warn you that this wine is quite different from what I usually suggest. With an alcohol content of 15%, it is very strong and very dry, but it pairs perfectly well with these flavourful olives.
Marinated Olives with Preserved Lemon
1 cup of a variety of your favourite olives
1/4 preserved lemon, (peel and flesh)
1 garlic clove, smashed
2 sprigs fresh mint
Pinch of fennel seeds
One whole dried chilli pepper, broken in half
Extra virgin olive oil
Place the olives in a colander and rinse with warm water to remove excess oil and brine. Set aside to drain.
In a small saucepan, add the olives, the smashed garlic clove, the springs of mint, a pinch of fennel seeds and the chilli pepper. With a sharp knife, remove the flesh of the preserved lemon from the peel, chop and add to olives. Thinly slice the peel and add. Cover the olives with extra virgin olive oil and heat on low for 30 minutes.
Remove from heat, discard the chilli pepper, mint sprigs and garlic clove. Let rest until the olives slightly cool down.
Transfer the olives to a bowl and serve with slices of baguette.
Preserved Lemon Dirty Vodka Martini
1 1/2 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. dry vermouth
1/4 oz. preserved lemon brine
1-inch piece of preserved lemon flesh
1/4-inch slice of preserved lemon peel
Chill a martini glass in the freezer.
In the meantime, fill a cocktail shaker with four ice cubes. Add liquid ingredients and the piece of preserved lemon, and shake well. Pour Martini in the chilled glass. Thread the slice of preserved lemon peel onto cocktail pick, place in the glass and serve.
My previous recipes in WestmountMag.ca:
Roasted Tomatoes and Herbed Feta Crostini
Grilled Halloumi Cheese with Pomegranate Arils and Syrup
Roasted Fresh Figs with Goat Cheese and Rose-scented Honey
Oven-roasted Almonds with Garlic, Rosemary and Thyme
Melted Fontina Cheese with Sundried Tomatoes
Pan Seared Scallops with Perfumed Coconut Milk Reduction, Cilantro Oil, Passion Fruit Juice
Sunny Lemony Stracciatella Zuppa
Josee Brisson is a culinary creator passionate about archaeology, mythology, history, literature, and the arts. She trained as a professional cook at École Hôtelière des Laurentides, in Sainte-Adèle, Québec. Among other food projects, she collaborated on two cookbooks with world-renowned food and wine expert François Chartier, and offered a Chef at Home service. Josee is also a translator, researcher and social media community manager. Her cookbook, L’Apéro: Appetizers & Cocktails, was #1 Best Seller in Appetizer Cooking at Amazon. Here’s the link to Josee’s book.