The Olive Bar

As a kid growing up, I was not a fan of olives. I didn’t put them on my fingers and wiggle them ever-so-cutely. I pretty much just left them alone.

And while I know I didn’t like them as a tyke, I have no idea when I started actually liking them. It’s almost like a switch was flipped when I wasn’t looking.

Today, there’s not an olive I don’t like – which leads me to the olive bar at the grocery store. I’ve taken to grabbing a container and just walking around picking up a bit of this and a bit of that. Not a lot of rhyme or reason – just things that catch my eye. I then generally bring them home and make a pasta sauce of sorts. It’s a total no-effort meal.

On my last trek, I picked up roasted garlic, cipollini onions marinated in balsamic vinegar, little biquinho peppers, some tapenade, and several olive varieties – all mixed together in the same carton.

Tonight, I chopped the garlic and onions and put them in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil. When they were nice and sizzling hot, I added a splash of red wine and let it cook down. Then, I added a can of diced tomatoes and cooked it all down even more. Nothing else was needed – no salt, no pepper, no nothin’. It was perfect on top of a grilled pork tenderloin.

On the other side of the plate we had roasted vegetables. I cut up a golden beet, a rutabaga, a small celery root, a few mushrooms, and a broccoli crown, drizzled it all with olive oil and some salt & pepper, covered it, and put it into the oven for 45 minutes at 425°F.

A perfect blend of flavors.

I roasted a lot of veggies – it’s difficult to just do halves of beets and rutabagas, and the like – so, tomorrow, we’re having salads for dinner and I’m turning the leftover veggies into a roasted vegetable salad. It will be a nice side with the bean and corn salad I made.

That trek to the produce store is producing a lot of salad sides…

It will be the perfect meal for the first day of Spring. I hope Mother Nature cooperates.