Elies Tsakistes (pronounced Eliės Tsakistės) are crushed olives which are harvested when green. Green olives are usually sold ready to be eaten but if you produce olives and want to make them from scratch, there is a procedure to follow in order that the olives become edible.
First of all you have to crack the olives and put them in water for as long as necessary until they are not bitter any more.To crack the olives place on a cutting board, wear latex gloves and wear something old or a plastic apron as when they are cracked the juices may stain your clothes and it is very difficult to remove the stains.
My mother would tell us to help her do this job and she had a large clean marble where we would put the olives and with a big pebble would crush them but we had to be careful not to break the pip. You may also crash them with the pestle but a mallet may also be used.
After crushing them they have to be soaked in fresh water, which is changed every other day until the bitterness is removed.
If you have a large amount of olives you must brine them in order to preserve them. The analogy is for every 8 cups of water is 1 cup of salt.
My sister in law sent me some olives which she had already cracked and put in water and were nearly ready to be eaten. I tried one and although it still had a slight bitterness I loved the taste. It had such a fruity taste, full of juice that I could not wait any longer to start eating them.
In Cyprus we prepare the cracked olives by marinating them. The olives should be marinated for at least a day so that all the flavours may be released and believe me, you can’t stop eating them.
I have been eating them every day since last week, with lentil soup, with green beens, with peas, stuffed in meat, mixed with potatoes, in salads, as a mezes and I even eat some for breakfast.
How to prepare EliesTsakistes
- ½ kilo (1.10 lbs) of green cracked olives
- 2 tsp crushed coriander seeds
- 2 – 3 cloves garlic, cut into 2 – 3 pieces each
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- Olive oil, to cover them
- See above how to prepare them.
- Wash the olives from the brine water and add crushed coriander seeds, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil to cover them and mix all the ingredients. Taste and add salt if necessary.
- They can be eaten right away but it is best to allow them at least one day to marinate so that all the flavours of the ingredients are released. If they are covered with olive oil they may be preserved outside the refrigerator but if less amount of olive oil is added it is best to store them in the refrigerator, covered.
- Remove them from the refrigerator at least an hour before eating.
This and many more recipes are included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste as well as in Volume 1 of my e-cookbook, sold on all Amazon stores.
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,