While I may go to Costco for the bulk paper towels and gallon-sized milk, I always make a trip down the wide aisles for the 36-ounce jar of Organic Asaro Castelvetrano Olives. Oh, the hold this $7.49 jar of olives—I have yet to find a better deal on olives—has on me! I feel incomplete when I open my fridge to find it lacking this straight-from-Sicily vessel of plump and juicy pitted olives.
Before you click away because you think you hate olives, let me just say that Castelvetrano olives are the gateway to becoming an olive lover. They are mild, green olives that taste how you’d imagine a perfect olive tastes like: fruity, briny, and buttery. They are salty in a pleasant way and with just the right amount of punch, but not so salty that you can only eat one or two. I can assure you that these are not the sad, squishy, salt-lick olives that may have wrongly categorized you as “not an olive person.”
We all know that buying anything Costco-sized requires commitment—it’s a lot of olives to get through even for an olive lover like me. These olives are packed in brine, which keeps them fresher for longer—olives packed in oil become rancid and spoil more quickly. That means I can enjoy these more leisurely and never throw out stragglers.
Allow me to count the ways I eat these gorgeous green gems all the way to the bottom of the jar:
1. Eat the Olives Straight From the Jar
Groundbreaking, I know, but hear me out. Olives are full of nutrients and healthy fats, so when I need something satisfying on the go, I reach for a handful of these babies straight from the jar. Pair them with a few crackers and a hunk of Parm, and you have yourself The Ideal Snack (trademarked by me).
2. Punch up Your Weeknight Pasta
My go-to weeknight dinner is also my deep dark secret. Being married to an Italian, jarred marinara is a big no-no, but I’m not much of a rule follower. On busier-than-usual evenings, I chop up 1/2 cup of olives and a 15-ounce can of artichoke hearts, and I combine them with a jar of marinara served with whatever pasta I have on hand. This is weeknight gold. I also love to add olives to simple pastas like aglio e olio—add a handful of chopped olives with the garlic.
3. Top Truly Dinner-worthy Salads
My family—who am I kidding, it’s just me—isn't enthused about salad for dinner, but even the drabbest greens feel fab with a handful of olives on top. The olives add a pop of much needed flavor and they are mild enough that they won’t take over the whole salad. Try them on a satisfying chicken salad or a hefty Brussel sprouts slaw.
4. Make a Delicious Cocktail
Any dirty martini lovers out there? Then you know that good olives and their brine are essential! Psst! Here's a genius move: add a splash of the brine and a drop or two of olive oil to the shaker, and you’ll thank me later.
5. Use the Brine as a Marinade
Once you’ve eaten all of the olives, don’t toss the brine—use it to make terrific marinades for chicken and pork. Mix 1/2 cup of the brine with 1/4 cup of olive oil, a few cloves of smashed garlic, chopped parsley, dried oregano, and the juice of one lemon. Marinate chicken thighs or breasts or pork chops in it for at least one hour before cooking.