(BPT) - When it comes to entertaining, each season has its own unique characteristics for traditional dishes and dinner party themes. But who says you can't break the rules and step outside the box with a versatile and innovate menu item? Whether you're hosting or simply making a fall family meal, Spanish olives are the secret ingredient you've been searching for.
Full of vitamins, the good kind of fat and naturally sugar-free, Olives from Spain can help naturally lower your cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of both heart attack and stroke. That's a lot of power in a tiny package. Just one serving of these olives provides only 35 calories and 2.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, which makes it a great substitute for foods high in saturated fats. Additionally, each of the four types of Spanish olives adds a unique flavor, from smoky to vibrant and robust. And don't forget that olives contain the four basic tastes - acidic, salty, sweet and bitter.
Let Spanish olives add ingenious flavor to your fall cuisine with these delicious dish ideas:
Appetizers, side dishes and tapas
While Spanish olives are already considered an elegant hors d'oeuvres, there are plenty of ways to spice up your typical olive platter.
* Try mixing Olives from Spain with smoked or salted almonds. Toss the mixture with a splash of olive oil and serve at room temperature. The two flavors truly complement each other.
* Have you ever thought of pairing olives with other fruits, like berries or watermelon? Pick your favorite fruits and Spanish olives and toss them in a bowl. Serve chilled with a dusting of black pepper.
* Using skewers, slide Spanish olives, bell pepper chunks, mushrooms or any other preferred vegetables into kabobs. Watch them sizzle in a pan or on the grill as the flavors combine.
* If you're looking for a way to spice up traditional deviled eggs, Spanish green olives are just the trick you need. When making the filling, mix yolks, mayonnaise, olives, finely chopped celery and black pepper.
The main course
As an excellent source of nutrition, olives can give almost any meal a boost. Whether they take center stage or support the overall flavor of the dish, you can add olives to almost anything.
* Pair savory with sweet when you combine ripe black olives from Spain with juicy, sweet oranges in a non-traditional salad. Add sliced red onions and pomegranate seeds and you'll be showcasing the versatility of Spanish olives.
* When serving salmon, combine with bacon and lentils to bring out the smoky flavor. Garnish with Gordal olives and chives for a hearty finishing touch.
* Top hot pastas with Spanish olives for an unexpected burst of flavor. Toss them in whole for a bold accent or simple sprinkle on chopped for a delicate addition.
* When you're slow roasting a stew, use olives to add richness and depth. Green Olives from Spain have a briny taste that will provide an unexpected element to your recipe.
Make Spanish olives a staple in your pantry and the delightfully appetizing possibilities are endless. For more recipes and ideas, visit: olivesfromspain.us/recipes.
Chicken with Lemon and Olives
4 chicken breasts
1 cup Green and Black Olives from Spain
2 preserved lemons, rinds removed and thinly sliced
1 lemon, juiced
4 sprigs rosemary
1 cup loosely packed parsley leaves
Salt and pepper
* Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
* Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat a large, heavy bottomed, sauté pan over medium high heat. Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. When hot, add the chicken breasts skin side down. Cook until skin is golden brown and the skin is crispy, about 4-5 minutes.
* Flip chicken breasts over, add the rosemary sprigs to the pan and place the entire pan in the oven. Cook until the chicken is just cooked through, about 10-12 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 150 degrees internally.
* Remove the chicken from the pan, add the olives, preserved lemons, lemon juice, parsley, and about 1/4 cup EVOO to the pan - this will be the sauce.
* Divide the chicken between four plates, heat the sauce over medium heat and spoon evenly over the chicken breasts.
* Serve while hot and enjoy with a vegetable side such as roasted onions or carrots.