Azeitonas (or olives in Portuguese) are the fruit of the oldest cultivated tree in the world!
According to Greek mythology, the first olive tree grew from a spear tossed into a rock by Athena, the Goddess or Wisdom. Apparently, she and Poseidon (God of the Sea) were having a contest about the best gift they could give to humankind and the winner was Athena’s olive tree. Homer waxed poetically throughout The Iliad and The Odyssey about the magical oil from the olive called “liquid gold”.
The Algarve region of Portugal sits along the southernmost tip of Portugal. Fresh-picked olives picked from the tree or riper ones shaken and gathered in nets under the tree, must be cured in water for at least a week to lose their bitterness and become edible. In Portugal, green olives are often brought to the table with bread as an entrada. Usually they’ve been flavored with salt, lemon, herbs or stuffed with garlic, anchovies, or almonds. The following dip is a bit of each and will be a revelation.
Patê de Azeitonas Verdes – Green Olive Dip
- Food processor or handheld blender
- ⅓ cup Whole milk
- 6 Anchovy fillets in oil
- 1 clove Garlic, peeled
- 6 sprigs Cilantro, trimmed
- 1 pinch White pepper
- ¾ cup Vegetable oil
- ⅔ cup` Pitted green olives, roughly chopped
- In a food processor, combine milk, anchovies, garlic, 4 cilantro sprigs, and pepper. Pulse to combine. With motor running, slowly pour in a thin stream of oil until it's fully incorporated into the mixture and thickened, about 1 minute.
- To serve, scrape mixture into a serving bowl and stir in the olives. Mince remaining cilantro and sprinkle on top. Serve with crudités, crackers, or little toasts.
- Good seedless olives are a good substitution for green.
- Careful not to get the green olives stuffed with pimentos.