I decided at a very early age that I had a particular disdain for olives. I’d stand even firmer in this opinion when people would tell me that olives were ‘an acquired taste.’ The option of snacking on these small but potent little spheres was ruled out years ago. There are things in life we claim not to like. Certain foods, certain chores, certain people. But perhaps if we were to treat these things differently we’d see a more redeemable side.
Jonathan Tropper’s This is Where I Leave You describes a dysfunctional family’s reunion while sitting shiva. Longstanding feuds and silences have left the grieving process compounded by awkwardness and hostility. The novel follows the main protagonist through his return home to a catastrophic reunion with his family, and the path to reconciliation paved with changed attitudes and a few surprises.
As I grow older and maybe even a bit wiser, I’ve begun to change my own attitude towards olives. Instead of ignoring them and wrinkling my nose, I have approached them in a new way, applying a new technique, discovering different textures and flavors, and growing to appreciate – and perhaps even like them.
Deep-Fried Stuffed Olives
1 jar (about 20) black olives : pitted, soaked, dried
1 log (350 g) goat cheese
1 red pepper: roasted in olive oil, salt, pepper
For pané: 1/2 cup flour (mixed with a teaspoon of salt), 1 egg, 1/2 cup breadcrumb
1. Soak olives in water for an hour to reduce brine flavor. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
2. Roast red peppers (with olive oil, s&p) in 350 degree oven for about twenty minutes, then peel skin and dice flesh finely
3. Combine goat cheese with peppers. Pipe mixture into olives.
4. Dredge olives in salted flour, dip in egg, and cover in breadcrumbs.
5. Fill a pan with veg oil, about quarter of an inch deep. Heat oil until shimmering, but not smoking. Add olives until slightly golden brown, then flip and fry the other side.
Enjoy deep-fried stuffed olives with Jonathan Tropper’s This is Where I Leave You, and check in at warandpeach.com for future recipes and book reviews!