A tangy bitter flavour for tastebuds

A tangy bitter flavour for tastebuds

As Italian, Spanish and Mediterranean cuisines are gaining popularity among food lovers, so is their common ingredient- Olive.  No doubt, we are unaccustomed to using olives but there is no harm in experimenting with the fruit which is so widely used in European countries and is now readily available in India too.

First, it is important to analyse the colours of the olive. The colour of an olive is not necessarily related to its state of maturity. Many olives start off green and turn black when fully ripe. However, some olives start off green and remain green when fully ripe, while others start off black and remain black.

So, the question is how to choose the best? Generally, green olives are the plumpest and firmest, with a sharper taste. The ink black olives that are usually tinned in brine are usually green olives that have been dyed - their flavour is nothing in comparison to the real thing. On the other hand Kalamata olives are large, with a purple tinge and a fruity flavour and considered to be the best.

Now, how to use it in different dishes comes as a challenge. Toss boiled pasta with ready-made tomato and chilli pasta sauce along with some black olives. Make a marinade with sliced olives, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and seasoning. Coat chicken thighs with it and leave for 15 minutes. Roast to cook thoroughly and sprinkle lemon juice over it.

Olives is an essential ingredient in salads too. Prepare a quick salad by mixing baby salad leaves tossed with a light dressing. Add cubes of feta, olives and tomatoes over it and serve it with bread.

You can even use olives to prepare stuffed vegetables. Stuff scooped-out tomatoes with cooled, cooked rice flavoured with minced garlic, sliced green olives, chopped tomato, lemon juice, and chopped herbs. Try making interesting dips from olives. Add chopped olives to readymade mayonnaise and mix it with lemon juice.

Health wise, dozens of health-protective compounds have been identified in olives that provide us with valuable amounts of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients. It is good for cardiovascular, respiratory system, nervous , musculoskeletal, immune,
inflammatory, and digestive system.