There’s more to olives than oil: Scrummy ways with the tangy versatile fruit 

There’s more to olives than oil: Bake them in bread, toss them in a salad or roast them with cod and chorizo – scrummy ways with the tangy versatile fruit


Cook’s tip

You can use any kind of white fish with this dish, and salmon or prawns would work too. Adjust the cooking time as needed.


Serves 4

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 100g (3½oz) chorizo, thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 100g (3½oz) mixed pitted olives, such as green French Lucques and red Italian Cerignolas
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 4 skinless cod fillets
  • 100g (3½oz) cherry tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion on a medium heat for 5 minutes until soft.

Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute then add the chorizo and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the thyme, olives and tomatoes and bring to the boil.

Pour into a roasting tin and place the fish on top with the cherry tomatoes. Roast for 15 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Serve with crusty bread or new potatoes.

Olly Smith’s wine pairing: Clever choice for cod

Casanova Costa d’Oru Corsican Rosé 2021 (12.5%) £7.50, Co-op

This is a magical rosé from off the beaten track that you can pour all summer long, such is its value. Gorgeous aromas of strawberries and honeydew melon abound in this masterpiece that’s spot on with both cod and tomatoes.


Serves 4

  • 300g (10½oz) orecchiette pasta (or another pasta shape of your choice)
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 6tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 100g (3½oz) black pitted olives, such as Italian Gaeta or Cerignola
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • 200g (7oz) baby broad beans
  • 200g (7oz) feta cheese, cubed
  • 50g (1¾oz) pine nuts, toasted
  • A handful of basil and chives

Cook’s tip

This is a great salad to take on a picnic. You could use mozzarella instead of feta or even some grilled halloumi.


Cook the pasta of your choice in a pan of salted boiling water according to packet instructions (normally around 9-10 minutes) until al dente.

Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a bowl, mix together the lemon zest, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and olive oil. Add the lemon juice to taste.

Drain the cooked pasta then plunge into cold water and drain again. Stir into the dressing, to coat thoroughly.

Gently fold in the olives, spring onions, broad beans and feta. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the pine nuts, basil and chives before serving.

Olly Smith’s wine pairing: Pukka with pasta

Tesco Finest Gavi DOCG 2021 (12.5%) £9

With all the wonderful Mediterranean flavours in this dish, seize the moment to pour a classic Italian white that won’t break the bank. This grapefruit-tinged wine feels as pure as if it’s been carved from a glacier – you can expect real definition and breathtaking freshness to work with the salty feta and olive bite. A wonderful drop.


  • Makes approx 1 x 450g jar
  • 1 small orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1tsp fennel seeds
  • A few bay leaves
  • 1tsp chilli flakes
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) mixed pitted olives
  • 100ml (3½fl oz) olive oil

Using a vegetable peeler or a small paring knife, peel off strips of orange and lemon zest and set aside. Heat a large pan.

Add the fennel seeds and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the zests, the bay leaves and chilli flakes. Cook for 30 seconds, then tip in the olives and half the olive oil. Warm gently for 1-2 minutes.

Cool slightly, then spoon into a jar. Top up with the remaining oil and seal. If you have a large jar, add more oil to top up. Store in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Olly Smith’s wine pairing: Chilli champion

Waitrose Manzanilla Pasada El Benito (17%) £11.99

When tucking into olives, it’s hard to beat the refreshment of an ice-cold glass of Spanish manzanilla. This version is aged a bit longer, which develops the richness to handle the heat of this chilli. It’s a brilliant all-round aperitif.


Cook’s tip 

For extra flavour, crumble feta over the top before baking. Store the bread in an airtight container for up to two days.


Serves 8

  • 500g (1lb 2oz) strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp caster sugar
  • 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 3tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing and dipping
  • 200g (7oz) cherry tomatoes
  • 125g (4½oz) pitted black Moroccan olives, halved
  • A handful of rosemary sprigs
  • A pinch of sea salt

Place the flour in a bowl with the salt, sugar and yeast. Mix, then add 2tbsp of the oil and slowly add 350ml warm water, mixing until you have a sticky dough. Tip onto a floured work surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, adding a little flour if it’s too sticky. Place in a clean bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave for around 1-1½ hours or until doubled in size.

Oil a shallow roasting tray or brownie tin (approx 20 x 30cm). Add the dough and stretch to the edges. Dimple the top with your finger and scatter with the tomatoes, olives, rosemary and sea salt. Leave for 30-45 minutes to prove and double in size.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas 7. Drizzle the top with 1tbsp olive oil and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and cooked through. Cut into squares and serve with extra olive oil for dipping.

For extra flavour, crumble feta over the top before baking. Store the bread in an airtight container for up to two days.

Olly Smith’s wine pairing: Fab with focaccia

Terre di Faiano Organic Nero di Troia 2020 (13%) £9, Sainsbury’s

Focaccia offers the chance to pair a lighter red such as this lesser known beauty from Puglia in southern Italy. I love its fruitiness and classy tang to the finish. On a really hot day you could even serve this red slightly chilled.


Serves 4

  • 200g (7oz) pitted olives such as Kalamata
  • 2tbsp capers in brine, rinsed
  • 2 anchovies in olive oil, drained
  • 1 fat garlic clove
  • 1tbsp soft thyme leaves
  • Zest of ½ an orange
  • Zest of ½ a lemon and a little of the juice
  • 7-8tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices sourdough or bread of your choice
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 2tbsp parsley, chopped

Finely chop the olives, capers, anchovies, garlic and thyme and both zests. Or you can pulse them all in a food processor together, but try to retain some texture.

Tip into a bowl. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to taste and stir in enough olive oil to create a smooth texture. Season with freshly ground black pepper and leave to sit for 10 minutes or so, then stir and season again if needed.

Cut the bread slices in half and toast. Drizzle a little of the olive oil over and top with some tomato slices. Spoon the tapenade over and garnish with chopped parsley to serve. 

Olly Smith’s wine pairing: Tapenade treat 

Asda Extra Special Palacio de Vivero Rueda 2021 (13%) £5.50

What a bargain! Fruity and precise, there’s a tropical twist to this wonderful Spanish verdejo, along with an intensity that’s perfectly pitched for the olives in the tapenade. This award-winning white also has plenty of citrus verve to tackle the saltiness of the anchovies.


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