Olives are such a fundamental component of the Lebanese diet (olive trees are everywhere), that it is unthinkable to start or finish a meal without gobbling a few. There is even a saying “Bread and olives are the best there is” khubz w-zeytun ahsan ma ykoon. My mother used to repeat it quite often while we were growing up. In any case, I could not imagine life without olives. (Strangely enough my daughter does not care for them).
Here is an olive salad which is served as an appetizer with some pita bread and a drink of araq, of course.
Recipe courtesy of chef Ala’.
2 cups green olives (preferably pitted)
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 Tbsp red pepper paste
1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp cumin
6 oz olive oil
Garnish: chopped fresh herbs, green onion or powdered dry mint
1. Place the olives in a bowl; add the rest of the ingredients and gently toss to combine; garnish with chopped parsley or some dried mint powder. Serve with pita bread.