The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 05.02.06


Good Old Dad's Very Best Olives

I have decided to share a recipe that I came up with that has proven very popular. This simple discovery came from one of those magic moments that happens when, out of necessity, you combine what you have on hand in the cupboard. I was frustrated at the cost of marinated olives (good ones) and too lazy to go to the store. A forgotten can of pitted black olives destined for pizza topping lay in the dark…

Here, by request, is the recipe:


I make these olives often as they go very fast around here. My daughter Erin especially loves them and I can't keep them in stock, as she will eat a whole jar in one sitting. It must be the marinade!

I basically make a classic vinaigrette salad dressing consisting of oil, garlic, sugar and vinegar but I always add a good portion of lemon juice too. I do not use olive oil because it tends to thicken and get cloudy in the refrigerator. Any salad oil will do.

I always add Italian seasoning -- if I do not have any on hand I will add dried oregano, basil, parsley etc. Of course, fresh ground black pepper and a pinch of salt is appropriate, but be careful of the salt, as the olives can be salty out of the can. I sometimes add a little paprika for color.

I always use large, jumbo or colossal canned black-pitted olives (or green if I can find them, but rarely). Unico or Pastene are the best in my opinion and are easily found in most grocery stores.

When olives are gone just add a new can (drained) to the existing marinade. Do not throw this out or you will have to start over. From time to time top up with new vinaigrette as needed. A large mason jar is the ideal size for this recipe.


1 can black or green pitted olives- the larger the better
1 and 1/2 cup- classic oil and vinegar dressing
¼ cup lemon juice
1 large Tablespoon Italian Seasoning or dried Italian herbs
Black pepper
Pinch of salt if needed
1 tsp Paprika on occasion


Drain the olives- do not rinse
Place in large jar with a good tight fitting lid
Cover olives with vinaigrette and spices and shake
Let sit in refrigerator as long as you can- minimum one day but sometimes they don't last that long.

Classic Vinaigrette

1/3-cup vinegar
2/3-cup good salad oil
2 cloves garlic smashed and chopped
1teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper