Hand-stuffed olives are a favorite in many places around the world. As both a colorful garnish and as an ingredient in various recipes for salads and entrees, they are simply black or green olives that have some sort of food inserted into them.
The first step in creating hand-stuffed olives is to clip off the tip of the olive and remove the pit from the main body of the olive. This leaves a cavity that can be filled with just about any type of food that the cook wishes to use. Some of the most popular foods to use in stuffed olives are small pieces of pimento, cloves of garlic, pearl onions, and even different types of salted nuts. The presence of some other sort of food provides the already pungent taste of the olive with a little something extra, adding to the taste of the olives rather than overpowering or masking the natural flavor.
For persons who are particularly adventurous, there are other alternatives to use with hand-stuffed olives. For example, salmon mousse may be used as the filling. In like manner, any type of flavored cream cheese can serve as the ingredient for the filler. Depending on the size of the olive itself, it is also possible to use flavored rice to create unique and visually interesting olives.
Hand-stuffed olives can be presented in a number of fashions. One popular method is to include the olives on a vegetable tray for a touch of extra color. As something a little unexpected, these olives may be used as an ingredient or as a decorative additive to green salads. The stuffed olive can even reach the table as a side dish, with the hand-stuffed olives arranged on a small relish tray, along with toothpicks or a small relish fork. As a surprise element, hand-stuffed olives may also be used with a presentation of a mix of broiled or baked vegetables. Essentially, the manner of presenting the olives is only limited by the imagination and ingenuity of the cook.
While it is possible to buy commercially packaged stuffed olives, the types of filler are extremely limited. Cooks who enjoy using olives will find that it takes very little effort to make hand-stuffed olives at home, using just about any type of filler that will create a union of flavors that work well with the taste of the olive.