Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sweet black olives and pasta

Friends have been telling me to go to the Alemany Farmer's Market for weeks now and I finally made the treck down to Bernal Heights to check it out. It is definitely a lot bigger than the one I'm used to, but for the most part it had a lot of the same veggies that I get each week. However, I did find something new and exciting. I found a farmer who was selling fresh olives, which I got a few pounds of to cure at home. But he and his wife also convinced me to try some sweet black olives. The way he described them, to be eaten "with a glass of nice, red wine" I just couldn't resist.

While most olives you must cure to remove the bitterness and to soften them up, these you can actually eat raw. They have the consistency of a grape, but with more of an olive flavor. When you open it up, you can see the soft flesh and thin skin. It's so easy to saute these plump purple orbs - when they burst open, they're ready. Also, I was told that they freeze well, so what you don't use immediately, you can freeze to use later in the year.

I made a simple pasta sauce with some tomatoes and garlic, but you could also add some greens like kale, chard, or arugula and top with some grated cheese.


  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 C washed sweet olives
  • 4 small tomatoes (I used early girls)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 C white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 servings of fresh pasta

Heat the olive oil over medium high and add the garlic. Cook till it starts to turn translucent.

Add the olives to the pan, stirring frequently.

When the olives start to pop open, add the tomatoes, lemon juice, and white wine. Season with salt and pepper. Add a few cups of pasta water to the sauce to make a nice gravy.

Serve over fresh pasta. Add a tad more salt and pepper.

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