Olive Talk on California Living. Meet Chef Robert Nyerick
What do olives, green tomatoes and ceviche have in common? Chemistry! Olives straight off the tree, like green tomatoes and ceviche need to go through a chemical alchemy before they are palatable. We caught up with Robert Nyerick, Executive Chef at the Miramonte Resort in Indian Wells, California and discovered he not only sources food locally, but some food is grown right on property.
After our stroll on the MIramonte grounds, I was inspired to do a little research on olives. Olive trees are everywhere, here in the Southern California landscape. I was always under the impression that some olives were inedible. I didn’t realize there was a piece missing from my conversations with various gardeners and grounds keepers over the years. Yes, the olives are inedible – unless they are processed! Now before we all over react to the words processed and chemically altered, allow me to explain. Processed, in this case may simply mean soaked in water! The chemical alteration is a leaching out of the naturally occurring bitterness of this fruit. Olives may be brined, like pickles, dry cured which really intensifies the flavor – think of sun dried tomatoes or raisins compared to their fresh counterparts. Olives may also be pressed for their oil, but eating raw olives off the tree? Yeah. That’s not happening.
Here are some amazing things I learned about olive trees. Unlike many fruit trees, olive trees live for hundreds of years. AND they can produce fruit during their entire lifetime! The olive tree appears throughout historic literature. While some trees have been scientifically proven to be more than 1,000 years old, there are certain ancient olives claiming ages between 3,000 and 4,000 years old. Traditionally, an olive branch is offered as a gesture of reconciliation and or a symbol of peace. If I were three of four thousand years old, hopefully I would know a thing or two about forgiveness, too! Feeling inspired to whip up a batch of Lemon Oregano Dressing? Here’s a great recipe with wonderful photos from our friends at Simply Scratch: Lemon Oregano Dressing Recipe
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