November 28, 2018 - Olives and olive recipes are excellent proof that it is worth taking a thorough gastronomic exploration of the eastern coast of the Adriatic. You can find so many products of olives here that there's not enough space in this story to list them. But what I can personally plead is the fact that even the oldest recipes, the traditional ones, are still being exchanged. Beaten olives came to the island of Hvar for the first time a few years ago, and my friend Ljube's granny, a woman who has dealt with olives for eight decades of her life, claimed she'd never tasted them before. She was amazed, will you be?
Homemade beaten olives, prepared according to the traditional recipe, are served in a growing number of restaurants along the Montenegrin coast, primarily because prepared this way they are the most delicious olives you will ever try. If you pick fruits at the right time, if you follow the recipe in detail, beaten olives are a gastronomic experience that will not leave anyone indifferent, even gourmets with the most excellent adventure. The final product is olives green, preserved with an irresistible taste, which is most accurate to compare to the feeling of high-quality cold-pressed virgin olive oil.
Where to find beaten olives?
Beaten olives can usually be found in fish restaurants and taverns, and recently on restaurant and hotel menus, as well as family farms which strive to promote the best traditions of local cuisine. The locals do not allow themselves to wait for the fall and winter holidays to have beaten olives on the table. This season, you will find them at the Kotor's fresh food market, at the markets in Tivat and Herceg Novi, and indeed in Budva. Farmers from Bar will offer you beaten olives among the olive fruits prepared in many different ways but will convince you of the quality of all their products by inviting you to try first some first.
How to prepare beaten olives?
Although you can get this local delicacy tomorrow morning at almost every fresh food market along the coastline, you will have a full experience if you prepare it yourself. The recipe is not complicated, but you have to follow the procedure accurately. How many olive fruits do you need? The more, the better. It's essential that you can buy them at a fresh food market. Or at the olive groves in Grbalj, Lustica, Bar, Valdanos.
All you need for preparation are olive fruits, a meat hammer or rubber hammer, water and salt (1kg olives / 50g salt). For different amounts of fruits, change the salt ratio. And, yes, it is important to note, the procedure lasts for nine days.
Do let this information scare you, as the hard job in front of you is just the beginning of the process. First of all, every olive must be lightly hit with the hammer just enough to crack it. Olive oil will spray everywhere, so be sure to secure the space for work. Or, for a much more relaxed process, you can beat the olive fruits over kitchen cellophane. It is necessary that the fruit cracks, so you need to be patient and not to strike them too hard so as not to destroy them.
After you have beaten them (which can be an active meditation), put the olive fruits in a deeper bowl where you have enough room to sprinkle them with water. The whole process that follows in Boka Bay is explained by just one sentence - "nine days in nine waters". And those waters, they are all the same, boiled and cooled to 40 degrees, except the last one, to which you have to add salt. The old recipe says that one kilogram of olive fruits need a hand of salt. Consider it a measure of 50 grams of salt per one kilogram of fruits.
How to serve beaten olives?
After the ninth day, the olives are ready to enjoy. The water outgrows excess fatigue and oil, leaving a dense texture that makes you appreciate it entirely as you combine this delicacy with some of the Montenegrin cheeses, Njeguši prosciutto, or quality smoked bacon. Beaten olives also love roasted fish, and traditionally prepared dried cod, and smoked carp served on the banks of Skadar Lake.
We owe you just one more detail on how to spice up the beaten olives - and it's very simple. You need a good quality virgin olive oil, rosemary, and chopped garlic - but not pressed. Just how much is needed, we will leave to your judgment. Our grandmothers say "from the eye," which should mean precisely that.
With a glass of good wine, the simplest snack foods available in the fridge, with the addition of this delicacy, will become a very fine meal for both locals and guests.
A note for those who prefer this recipe - if you have the chance to choose, prepare the beaten olives from the autochthonous "žutica" Adriatic variety. Also, do not spice the whole quantity of olives at the same time, if you've prepared more than you can eat in two-three days. Leave the beaten olives in the last, salted water, until you choose to serve them.