Oil-Cured Olives: A Kalamata Substitute?

By Cook's Illustrated Published May 2016

Can oil-cured olives stand in for kalamatas as a substitute?

Oil-cured black olives aren’t really cured in oil. They are cured in salt and then soaked in oil to partially restore their plumpness and to preserve them. The resulting jet-black, wrinkly olives are dense, rich, and meaty, with a very salty and almost smoky flavor. When we swapped them for the kalamatas in our Fougasse (see related content) and in our Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, Capers, and Pine Nuts (see related content), they made a good, albeit stronger, stand-in. To account for their potency, we recommend using 25 percent fewer olives than the number of kalamatas called for and chopping them finer, as well as seasoning recipes with half the salt called for during cooking and then seasoning to taste at the end, once the olives have been incorporated.