Love ’em or you hate ’em


Smoked olive tapenade recipe

Throughout the years, I’ve changed my likes and dislikes, as most people do.Going from drinking a liter of milk a day to drinking absolutely none. From despising mushrooms – their presence in a dish rendering it inedible- to not being able to get enough of them. I have made a few more meals than I would like to admit of a massive bowl of cooked mushrooms. From requesting jarred cocktail sausages as my Birthday dinner to avoiding even glancing at them in the grocery store to keep from gagging.

Our Tastes Evolve with Time

Many people believe that our tastes evolve to become more and more sophisticated. After all, if you can appreciate a fine whiskey served neat and some good stinky cheese, your palate must be finer. Right?

Through all the changes in taste, there has been one that has always stayed the same. Olives. I hate them. I loathe them.

A Convinced Olive-Hater  

Now before you judge, trust me. I have tried very hard to like them,by eating every type of olive prepared in several different ways, but nope. Hate was still there! And for someone who adores fermented, pickled and cured foods, it was really odd not to like olives. It is the one and only thing that I can’t stand to eat.

A terrible incident made things even worse! One of my cooks prepared me dinner. He made me a pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and artichoke hearts. Safe for an olive-hater like me right? Wrong! Hidden inside the petals of one of the artichoke hearts was an olive!

What a nasty surprise! When I bit down on the olive, it took all of my self-control to not spit it out on my plate (I was sitting next to two of my regulars at the bar). I excused myself with a full mouth, while running to the back of house to spit it out. He claims, to this day, that it wasn’t intentional. As he was pitting olives while making my dinner at the end of the night, one must have slipped in the pan…Likely story.

Love it or Hate it 

There is no middle ground. Either people agree emphatically with me in my disdain for olives, or disagree and proclaim their undying love for them. It seems to be one of those things, like black licorice or tequila, that you either love or you hate. 

Desperate to cross the boundary between hate and love for olives, I have been fiddling around with olives trying to turn them into something I enjoy. And finally it dawned on me, smoke!

Who Would Think of Smoking Olives?

Choose three different types of olives, dry them and place them in a perforated aluminum dish. Then smoke at 200°F for an hour and a half.

You may experiment with a few different bisquettes; alder, hickory and oak, but for me hickory worked best. The end result was so delicious! I loved them and ate them by the handful. Smoking the olives dampened the all too pungent taste and brought a nice hint of savoury smoke flavour. They were perfect!

They Make a Perfect Cocktail Party Snack!

Although I had promised to save some for a friend… I ended up eating all of them and had to smoke more for her…and a little more for myself.
How proud of myself! I’m not a picky eater, I’ll eat anything, even olives (as long as they’re smoked)! Whenever there is some free space in my smoker, surely there will be a tray of olives to snack on while I work. These little morsels would make a great cocktail party snack too!