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Black Olives With Red Pepper Harissa

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“These olives are addictive! They are good all alone, served with other appetizer-type foods and other dishes. Crusty bread dipped into the sauce and eaten with a good hearty soup is wonderful! I love using fresh bell peppers and hot Cherry Bomber chiles from my garden in this. The original recipe was found in the August '94 issue of Gourmet. I have improvised on olives, due to what is not available in my area; as well as some adjustments to technique, thanks to Charishma on toasting spices. Cook time is chilling, marinating time.”
6hrs 30mins
3 cups

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Drain olives, rinse under running water, place in large bowl and cover with fresh water; soak 15 minutes for canned, 4 hours for oil-cured, to remove excess salt; drain, rinse again; drain well.
  2. Toast cumin, coriander and caraway seeds in a hot, dry skillet to release flavor and fragrance, being careful not to scorch or burn them. Cool.
  3. Grind the toasted seeds fine; if using a spice grinder or coffee grinder dedicated to such purposes, add dried chiles here and continue to grind.
  4. If using electric appliances, transfer finely ground spices/dried chiles to a food processor or blender here; if using a mortar & pestle, continue with it.
  5. To ground spices, add garlic, salt, and fresh chiles, if using them; grind to a paste.
  6. Add red bell pepper and olive oil and pound or puree to a paste (your preference here, I like it rather fine); adding more oil, drop by drop, if desired for consistency.
  7. Taste and add a touch more salt, if necessary.
  8. In a large, nonreactive or non-stainable bowl, stir together olives and harissa; cover, chill and marinate at least 6 hours and up to a week before serving.
  9. For best flavor, bring olives in harissa to room temperature before serving.
  10. I have kept them up to 4 weeks (if they last that long!),well covered and chilled; with a layer of olive oil floated on top.

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