MARINATED OLIVES zeytun m’charmel

Surely one of the most striking sights in a Moroccan souq is the precariously stacked
displays of glistening olives, ranging in color from yellows and greens to violet purples
and blacks. Stalls usually have their own herb- and spice-marinated versions, too, as do
many restaurants, cafés, and even homes.
This recipe is adapted from the one that Rachid Edhidi, the talented barman at La
Maison Arabe in Marrakech, mixes up in a silver Champagne bucket, chills, and then
sets out with small, crunchy almonds (from the Atlas) on the dimpled zinc bar. The olives
are delicious with a cold bottle of local Casablanca beer or, as Rachid prefers, for a
midmorning or afternoon snack with just-baked bread and a glass of Mint Tea (page 210).
The first hot-water soak is important to remove some of the vinegary flavor so that the
herby, spicy tones come through cleanly. Small pitted, unstuffed olives are preferable
because the flavors can permeate deeper.
zeytun m’charmel
2 cups/225 g pitted green olives or about
10 oz/280 g green olives with pits
1 small garlic clove, minced
Generous 2 pinches finely chopped fresh
Generous 2 pinches minced fresh rosemary
Generous 2 pinches dried oregano, zaâtar
(see page 48), or dried thyme
Generous 2 pinches celery salt
Generous 2 pinches ground cumin
Generous 2 pinches freshly ground black
Generous 2 pinches sea salt
Dash of Tabasco sauce
11⁄2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Drain and rinse the olives. Transfer to a bowl,
cover with hot water, and soak for 10 minutes.
Rinse and let drain for 10 minutes. Spread out
on paper towels to dry completely.
In a mixing bowl, blend the garlic, cilantro,
rosemary, oregano, celery salt, cumin, pepper,
salt, Tabasco, and olive oil.
Transfer the olives to a serving bowl. Add
the herb mixture and stir evenly to coat. Cover
with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.
Add the lemon juice and toss. Serve chilled
with toothpicks stuck into a handful of the olives.