We once secretly picked olives in Puglia. We put as many as we could carry in a plastic bag. At home we pickled them and dried them in the oven. We kept at it with “regular” black, wrinkled olives and kalamata olives, inspired by oven-dried olives from the country estate and organic farm La Vialla in Tuscany. When they dry olives in large quantities, the aroma fills the countryside. Have them as a nibble, but they’re also good in all sorts of dishes: pasta, vegetable dishes and salads or with fish and meat.
1¼ cups black Moroccan wrinkled olives
1¼ cups pink kalamata olives
3 cloves garlic
Zest of 1 orange
4 fresh bay leaves
3 cups olive oil
Preheat the oven to 120 F. Dab the olives with a paper towel. Chop the garlic into thin slices (if present, remove the green kernel). With a zester, slice thin strips of the orange peel from the orange. Tear the bay leaves into small pieces
Combine the olives, garlic, orange zest and bay leaves and spread them out over a large baking sheet. Let the mixture dry in the oven for about 8 hours. Transfer to a lidded jar and cover with the olive oil. Store the olives in the pantry or keep them on the counter. The olive oil will absorb the flavours of the olives and will be delicious as a base for a dressing or drizzled over dishes.
Serves 4 to 6.