Olive You, Jam
Growing up jam was just jam and it was fruity and sweet and I smeared it on toast in the morning or paired it with peanut butter for those lunchbox sandwiches that I loved (and still do). Jam morphed into a cheese pairing for me several years ago after visiting friends in France and spending summer afternoons on a deck overlooking the Pyrenees, drinking wine and eating a variety of cheeses, meats and confits.
Since that summer in France, I have found myself trying a bigger variety of jams with flavors I’d have thought “icky” when I was kid. Onion confits and bacon jam among others. So when I was staring at two cans of California Ripe Olives and needing to create an appetizer, that summer came blasting into my brain and Olive Jam sounded perfect.
The blend of salty and sweet is a tradition as old as can be, and if you know anything about me at this point, it’s that I don’t mess with tradition!
My favorite thing about olives is simply the name. I think most people know that if you say, “Olive juice ” from a across the room to a friend it appears to them as if you’ve just said, “I love you.” Then there’s the fact that Santa Claus likes olives…you know, “Olive, the other reindeer.” And if you’re like me and prefer to buy things that are made in America, there are a LOT of American olives, and 95% of them are produced by California.
As I made the recipe for my Olive Jam, I thought about all of the ways that I could use it. It could be used with just cheese – manchego, parmesan or other hard and strong cheese. And that’s how this Olive Appy Stack came to be. Layered with crackers, hard salami, arugula, a small slice of manchego cheese and topped with olive jam, they give you the crunchy, the salty, the peppery, the pungent and the sweet all at once.
Now if I could transport my back deck to the South of France and have the Pyrenees as my view off in the distance.
- 2 cups drained California Ripe Olives (1-6 oz can)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 12 oz sliced hard salami
- 24 water crackers
- ¼ pound manchego cheese
- 1 cup arugula
- In a saucepan over medium high heat, combine the water and the sugar well. Add lemon zest to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the the liquid has reduced by about half.
- While the sugar water is reducing, drain and rinse the California Ripe Olives. Chop the olives as coarsely as you'd like. *You may choose to puree your jam when it is finished if you prefer no chunks, however.
- Pour the sugar water through a strainer into a bowl to remove the lemon zest or any seeds, etc.
- Return the liquid to the saucepan along with the black olives and honey and simmer for about 15 minutes. The mixture will be slightly thick, but thickens considerably when it's cooled.
- Chill the jam for use. You can keep your jam refrigerator for at least 10 days - if it doesn't get eaten!
- For the appetizer stack: Layer one water cracker with a slice of salami, several arugula leaves, a slice of manchego and top with ½ a tablespoon of olive jam.
*This recipe was created for entry into the Amazing Apps Culinary Challenge contest for Eat, Write, Retreat. The California Ripe Olives were provided to me at no charge.
- 15 Appetizer Recipes with Olives - […] Recipe and Photos credit to agirlinthesouth.com […]