Nov 062010


My neighbors and I cook at around the same time of day, and our cooking smells waft around the building. I stick my head out the kitchen window and sniff judgementally. One neighbor’s food smells great, with sharp notes of onions, turmeric, cumin. Another’s cooking is so bland it depresses me. (Boiling potatoes again, are we? Don’t you get tired of boiled potatoes?)

Yesterday, Friday, every woman was cooking for Shabbat. Naturally, she needs to put something nutritious, filling, and cheap on the table. Potatoes suit the menu every time. I looked at my potato bin. This Friday, I was bored with them. I needed some potato inspiration.

Flipping through my cookbooks, I found an interesting recipe in Joyce Goldstein’s Saffron Shores: Jewish Cooking of the Southern Mediterranean. Actually, it’s two recipes in one, because first you must prepare spiced olives, then add them to potatoes and cook them together.

Goldstein’s recipe calls for crushing whole olives with the flat of a cleaver or a mallet, then soaking them overnight. I didn’t have time for that and figured that canned, pitted olives  would release plenty of their salt with a few good rinses. So they did. And the dish was very good. It has the advantage of being vegetarian and pareve, for everyday meals as well as for Shabbat. And the olives, you can serve serve and eat as an appetizer all by themselves.

spiced olives for blog to watermark

Spiced Olives

Yield: 2 cups


2 cups of pitted olives

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large bay leaf

2 cloves of garlic

½ teaspoon sweet paprika

A large pinch of cayenne pepper and/or ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Juice of ½ lemon


Rinse the olives thoroughly, three times in cold, running water. Drain them.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or shallow pot, over a low flame.

Cook the bay leaf, garlic, paprika and cayenne or pepper for 3 minutes.

Add the olives to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, turning them over occasionally.

Remove from the fire and let cool. Put the olives, with the bits of garlic clinging to them, in a clean dish.

Add the lemon juice; mix.

You may store the spiced olives in the refrigerator for a week if kept in a clean, dry jar.

Potatoes Stewed with Olives

Serves 6


The olive oil left from cooking spiced olives, or 3 tablespoons fresh olive oil

1 large onion

2 ½ lb. – 1 kg. potatoes, unpeeled but scrubbed and sliced 1 inch (2 centimeters) wide.

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups spiced olives

¼ cup finely chopped parsley or celery leaves


Chop the onion finely. Sauté it for 5 minutes in the skillet where the spiced olives cooked, with their oil returned to it. If using fresh oil, sauté the onions in 3 tablespoons of oil.

Add the potatoes and the spices. Don’t add salt – the olives will add enough.

Add water to halfway up the potatoes, and bring to a boil.

Cover the skillet, lower the flame, and cook the potatoes 15 minutes.

Add the olives and cook another 10 minutes, turning everything over once or twice.

Check to make sure the potatoes are tender; give them a few more minutes if necessary, but don’t let them get mushy.

Sprinkle the dish with the chopped parsley. Serve hot.

Potatoes with olives closeup2 for hamodia

Related Posts with Thumbnails

  9 Responses to “2 Recipes: Spiced Olives and Potatoes with Olives”

  1. True confession: It’s been over a dozen years since we made aliyah, but I’m STILL not a fan of olives. Or eggplant either, for that matter. {hangs head in shame} Shh. Don’t tell them over at Misrad HaPnim. They might revoke my Israeli citizenship… ;-)

  2. Chuckle…Mrs. S., if you don’t tell, I won’t either. I will tell that Husband doesn’t like olives, but ate the potatoes with pleasure. I think your citizenship is safe…unless- wait a minnit. Do you like humus? Please don’t confess it publicly if you don’t, that really might jeopardize your status. :)

  3. […] Beyond pickling: Sarah ruminates on olive trees and Miriam marinates and cooks her olives. […]

  4. I just found your blog from amotherinisrael. I think I might start the sweet potato and lentil salad right after I pick up my kids. Do you use canned olives for this potato dish? I’ve been in Israel almost a year and I’m still overwhelmed by the olive selection and I haven’t found any I love. The olives in the shuk smell great, but they don’t have kosher supervision, and I’m turned off by people smoking over them. Your dishes look right up my alley, but I’m still scared of sour dough. Maybe one day…

  5. Yes, I used canned olives. As for deciding which olives – choose any, and see if you like them. Next time, try another kind!

  6. […] Mimi of Israeli Kitchen receives some potato inspiration with 2 Recipes:  Spiced Olives and Potatoes with Olives. […]

  7. I made the potatoes with spicy olives and it is amazing. However, next time and there will be next time; I will use the tiny potatoes, the new ones and they will hold the shape better. I am sure that we will eat what I have made this time and hope for an encore.

  8. Super, Renat, I love feedback from my readers. I think you’re right about the new potatoes. I’ll keep that in mind next time they’re in season here.

  9. Hi,
    I am looking for a recipe that I had tasted at Rosh-ha-Shana; it was a combination of dry prunes, sweet potatoes, walnuts, and some other things. It was baked and was heavenly.If anyone has the recipe I would appreciate the sharing of that recipe.

 Leave a Reply



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>