Introduction: Gingered Olives

About: Scurvy, the A140 road and parsnips are three of the things that do not describe me. Funambulist, on the other hand, neither. Thank you.

Let me start by saying that I am not really that fond of olives. So when we ran into this small bowl of olives, and something, on a tapas plate, I was hesitant to try it. When I did try them, I was quickly converted. I really, really liked these kind of olives!

We immediately started dissecting the dish. Ok, so olives are obvious. Then a clear taste of ginger. But it's sweet, so probably stem ginger. What are these crunchy bits? Of course, onion! They taste so different, though. There is something else as well, is it garlic?

Let's try to make this ourselves!

Step 1: Ingredients

So for a first basic recipe you need:

  • One jar of olives (basic, unflavoured ones)
  • Stem ginger OR Ginger root + Sugar (I used palm sugar)
  • One onion
  • Vinegar (I used shallot vinegar)
  • One large clove of garlic

I chose not to use any salt or pepper. You can always add this right before serving.

Step 2: Stem Ginger (Ginger Confit)

This recipe calls for stem ginger, which, if you are unfamiliar with it, is basically candied ginger. You can definitely use the ready-made stem ginger from a jar. Just cut it in thin slices and go to the next step.

I chose to try making my own stem ginger for once. It's quite fun!

For real stem ginger you need absolutely fresh ginger roots. As far as I know, these are very hard to get. So you can solve this by buying regular ginger and cutting it in thin slices instead of the usual balls. Cut perpendicular to the grain to make them easier to eat.

There are several recipes on the web, here's what I did:

  • Take roughly equal parts of ginger root and (palm) sugar.
  • Peel the ginger root. (With a spoon. Yes, really! It works and you have hardly any waste.)
  • Cut into thin slices. (As thin as you can/want.)
  • Just cover them in boiling water and keep boiling them until soft, about 45 minutes. You may have to add (hot) water several times.
  • Add the sugar.
  • Stir regularly to prevent the ginger/sugar from catching and burning.
  • Once the ginger is nice and dark and the liquid has reduced by at least half, remove the ginger slices.
  • Put the pot back on a low fire to reduce the liquid to a sirup. Keep stirring and pay close attention.
  • Add the sirup to your slices.

Some points:
You remove the slices in the end so you have better control over the liquid. And if you ruin it, you still have your awesome ginger. ;)
Any sugar is fine to use, I chose palm sugar this time because I hope it adds another subtle flavour to the balance.
Making stem ginger isn't something quickly done. Take your time, relax, but keep paying attention. Music helps. :)

Step 3: Marinate Onions

Whilst your ginger is boiling you can prepare the onion pieces. Cut them in to thumbnail sized pieces. This way you can easily eat them, yet they aren't so small that they lose their texture. Put them in a small dish and add some vinegar. You can either add enough to cover them, but I chose to add way less than that and just regularly stir it. Try "basting" the onion with the vinegar instead of stirring to prevent the pieces from bruising.

At this point, it's a good time to cut your garlic into thin slices. You can add them to the onion and vinegar, if you like. I chose to keep them separate. This way I had more control over equally dividing the slices through the jar.

Step 4: Mix and Wait

Take your olives from their jar and keep the liquid. I added all ingredients in layers to their final jar.
So add in your olives, marinated onion, stem ginger, garlic slices, and stem ginger sirup. Finally add the olive liquid and enough olive oil to cover everything.

Now is the time for patience. Close the jar and let all the flavours infuse. Because most of the ingredients are basically still raw, I chose to put it in the fridge. Because ginger can be quite strong and preferences are so varied, it's hard to say how long you need to let it infuse. Why not try it every (other) day? I'm sure that's no punishment.

If you tried out this instructable, please let me know how it went. I also would like to know about any changes or additions you made!

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