Pimento-Stuffed Green Olives

Published May 1, 2013. From Cook's Illustrated.

Pimento-stuffed green olives aren’t just for martinis.

Overview:

Pimento-stuffed green olives aren’t just for martinis. They should also deliver snappy bite and a briny (but balanced) jolt of flavor to vinaigrettes, relishes, and other dishes. But after tasting the best-selling olive varietals from four nationally available brands, both straight from the jar and chopped up in picadillo, we discovered that a good olive is mostly about the other ingredients in the jar. Brines spiked with vermouth and vinegar make olives taste “mouth-puckering” (though cooking mellows the sharpness). Meanwhile, calcium chloride is a good thing, as it strengthens the flesh-firming pectin in the olives, as is salt. Tasters panned the product with the least amount as “bland.” As for varietals, larger Spanish Queen and Sevillano varieties were “meaty” and “juicy”—pluses when snacking that predictably mattered less once the fruit was cut into pieces.

Pimento-stuffed green olives aren’t just for martinis. They should also deliver snappy bite and a briny (but balanced) jolt of flavor to vinaigrettes, relishes, and other dishes. But after tasting the best-selling olive varietals from four nationally available brands, both straight from the jar and chopped up in picadillo, we discovered that a good olive is mostly about the other ingredients in the jar. Brines spiked with vermouth and vinegar make olives taste “mouth-puckering” (though cooking mellows the sharpness). Meanwhile, calcium chloride is a good thing, as it strengthens the flesh-firming pectin in the olives, as is salt. Tasters panned the product with the least amount as “bland.” As for varietals, larger Spanish Queen and Sevillano varieties were “meaty” and “juicy”—pluses when snacking that predictably mattered less once the fruit was cut into pieces.

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