Castelvetrano olives are my absolute favorite olives. They are actually the type that finally broke my hatred of olives. Buttery, crisp, mild, and only lightly salty with an amazingly vivid green tint, Castelvetrano olives are grown specifically in western Sicily along the Belice river valley nestled right up near the town of Castelvetrano.
I was never so proud to be Italian as I was the first time I sunk my teeth into one of these babies. I’ll never forget it. I was at an amazing wine tasting at the Atlanta Wine School and before the tasting began, they set out some antipasto for us to snack on and also to pair with our wines. One of the dishes held a variety of olives and I decided to take a few. It’s always bothered me that I didn’t like olives so every once in awhile I would try one, hoping that I would finally acquire a taste for them. I mean what Italian doesn’t like olives? Well, that night I hit the jackpot with my first Castelvetrano olive. The olives had been just lightly simmered in olive oil, warming them up and intensifying their flavors as well as melding them with the fruity olive oil. It was heaven. And from that moment on, I was an olive believer. That was also the night I discovered my favorite wine, the Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc. But that’s a story for another day. Seriously though, go buy that wine right now.
So, back to the olives simmering in olive oil. When you read this recipe, you’re going to be thinking, “um, Megan, two ingredients is not a recipe” but then you’re going to try this and you’re going to be very sorry about what you said about me in your head. This has to be one of the easiest antipasto recipes ever, aside from just dumping some olives in a bowl and calling it a day. But your guests deserve better. You deserve better. Your olives deserve better. So get out your olives, get out your extra virgin olive oil, and let’s get on with it.
I personally prefer unpitted olives whenever possible. The flesh stays crisper and less salty. The extra salt absorbed into pitted olives can also mask the subtle, fruity flavors that make these olives amazing; however, I couldn’t pass up this huge jar of pitted castelvetrano olives when I saw them at Costco. I can definitely tell the difference between the unpitted, but these do just fine for quick snacking. I’ll probably go back to unpitted once I’m through with the jar. It’s fortunately gotten quite easy to find Castelvetrano olives in the olive bar or in the regular olive section at many grocery stores. It’s easy to pit them yourself if you have the right tool or simply eat them with the pit and politely place the pit on the side of your plate.
- Castelvetrano olives
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Place drained olives in a pot large enough for the olives to sit on a single layer but small enough to keep from wasting the olive oil.
- Pour enough olive oil in the pot to just cover the olives.
- Heat olives and oil on medium heat until very small bubbles begin to form.
- Lower the heat to medium-low or low and allow olives to simmer for about 3 minutes, until warmed through.
- Remove olives from the pot using a slotted spoon or strainer and serve.
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