This is the second in our series of Tapas for this month’s wine-paired meal.
About a year ago I got a crazy idea to smoke some olives in my Bradley Smoker. I’ve been putting olives in the oven with fresh zested orange peel, onions, and garlic for years and got to thinking about how I could change the recipe. The olives roasted in the oven heated or around 30 minutes at 325 degrees.This was just long enough to have them release more of their flavor and infuse the orange peel and garlic into the oil and meat of the olive.
So, after a little thought about how this crazy idea might work in the smoker I decided to try it. I did not want to use one of my good baking pans to put in the smoker so I just made my own disposable pan out of a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. The smoke from the smoker discolors my good baking pans (been there done that), so it’s best to make your own pan or get a disposable aluminum pan that fits your smoker.
You can use any good quality olives for this recipe like the ones you would find on an olive bar in a deli or gourmet grocery store. I have my favorites though because they are both meaty and buttery and when smoked keep those qualities that I love. I like the Castelvetrano Olives for their buttery flavor and the Cerignola Olives for their meatiness. I use both black and green Cerignola olives in the smoker.
To get the olives ready for the smoker I first drain the brine, then put the olives in the disposable pan. Next I pour on a couple of tablespoons of good quality olive oil. I love the Tuscan Herb Olive Oil from EVVO Marketplace in Denver. It has all of your normal italian herbs infused into the oil like rosemary and basil. Then I slice some fresh peeled and poached garlic cloves over the olives and toss all the ingredients together.
1 cup black olives
1 cup green olives
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced into thin strips
fresh ground black pepper to taste
Prepare the smoker, bringing the temperature to 200 degrees. Arrange the olives in a disposable aluminum pan. Add all of the other ingredients and shake the pan to coat the olives. Place the olives in the smoker and cook for 30 minutes for light smokey ﬂavor. Set your smoker so it will produce smoke for the entire cooking time.
Remove olives and serve immediately, or let cool and store for up to 2 weeks.
You can use fresh cloves that have not been poached in oil. I just personally do not like raw garlic so I always poach a bunch of cloves in olive oil till they are barely soft. This usually takes about 5 minutes on medium heat. I will be posting a Tip about how to do this in another post. Check back and look under Chef’s Tips & Tricks to see how I make the poached garlic and how I store the garlic and use it once it’s been poached.
My smoker automatically feeds the wood biscuits into the smoker every 20 minutes. Any flavor of wood you have will work. You could leave them in longer if you want them really smokey, but I’ve found 30 minutes gives a lighter and more balanced flavor.
If you don’t have a smoker try putting them in the oven like I described above with some smoked salt. Just be careful to not use too much salt, since olives have been soaked in salty brine. I would start by using about 1 tsp of smoked salt to see how you like it.