Well, a few weeks ago, my husband treated me to a picnic. It was very impromptu while at Publix (a very common grocery store for you non-Floridians). Their deli section has "anti-pasto" filled with marinated olives, red peppers, mushrooms and whole garlic cloves. At $7.45/lb it's a lot. But he really wanted to try them so we got two of everything equaling half a pound. We ate picnic and they were good but not awesome but it was just spending the time alone by the lake that meant so much that it wasn't a big deal.
But ever since then, I got to thinking "how can I make this better?" I knew there had to be something. I searched my Persian recipe books, most of their marinated olives are like Zeytoon Parvardeh, sweet and made with pomegranate paste and ground walnuts. A glorious delicacy from the Gilan region of Iran.
No, I wanted savory. So my journey brought me to Zeytun M'charmel . Moroccan marinated olives. English recipes say "spicy" but I think they mistranslated it. It really means "spiced" not "spicy" because there is nothing hot about this dish.
Now I meditated over the recipe - stupid simple but it was taste I was looking for. So after trying out different flavors for the marinade, knowing that my husband and I LOVE garlic I came up with (drumroll please!)...
Rebekah adlı marine zeytin!
You will need at least a 48oz/1119mg bowl with lid (airtight!).
6oz (1 can) of green olives
4oz of black olives
8 small garlic cloves (cut in half or thirds)
4 pepperoncini (Greek pickled peppers) pits/stems removed and halved (keep it's juice!)
3 hard Roma tomatoes halved and sliced into wedges.
4 medium chunky portebella mushrooms quartered.
1/2 a lemon (or lemon juice equivalent)
2-4 pinches of oregano, ground cumin, garlic powder (optional), kosher salt, fresh black pepper, Italian seasonings.
2-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
In bowl, rinse olives. Drain. Add tomatoes and pour hot water (not boiling) until covered. Let sit for 10 minutes. Use this time to wash and cut the veggies. Drain olives and tomatoes and pat dry in a paper towel.
In same bowl, mix spices, lemon juice, oil, saved pepperoncini juice and fresh garlic.
Add warmed olives and tomatoes, stirring lightly.
Add rest of veggies and the squeezed lemon, then stir until well coated.
Snap on lid, give everything a good shake.
Put in fridge and chill overnight. Come and shake the container once every hour (when you can).
The next day, serve with mozzarella cheese and fresh Italian or French bread. It is AWESOME! What you see in the bowl is HALF of the olives, that is just what my husband ate for breakfast this morning!
Where to find the stuff for cheapest?
Walmart - Green olives $1.88 (6oz can), black olives $1.48 (6oz can), Garlic and Herb french bread loaf $1.58, Sorrento mozerella stringsters $2.98 (had coupon for $1.50 off each), Vigo brand pepperoncini $1.98 (there are other brands but this one has the best taste and it's imported from Greece through Tampa, FL!), Fresh garlic (they have the fattest ones!) and Roma tomatoes $2.48/lb
Winn-Dixie - Baby portebello mushrooms containers 2/$5 usually with a $1 off produce coupon if you go at the end of their sale week.
48oz (3 lbs) = (approx) $6.48 or $2.16/lb. Tastier and cheaper than store bought!
And just in case you haven't noticed the similar words: zeytun, zeytoon and zeytin all means olive. :)