Thanks to Kitchen PLAY, Chrystal and I were invited to participate in the International Olive Council’s (IOC) new “Add Some Life” campaign. It’s a campaign crafted with the sole purpose of praising the all-mighty olive, and doing its part to inspire all of us to incorporate olives and olive oil into our regular diets. I was particularly excited to be a part of any campaign that champions olives, because frankly, I love those little guys. Whether green, black, stuffed, Spanish, Greek, or other, olives are already a mainstay in my diet, and olive oil is a regular item on my shopping list.
Most of my life I’ve heard all about the health wonders of olive oil—namely how it’s the “good” fat. I also know it’s great outside the body too, doing wonders for one’s skin and hair. I was pleasantly surprised, though, to learn of even more astonishing health benefits this small, delicious fruit offers. For instance, did you know that the oleic acid present in olive oil is effective in preventing many forms of cancer? I did not. According to the IOC, “eating a Mediterranean Diet could prevent up to 25% of colon, 15% of breast, and 10% of prostate, pancreas and endometrial cancers.” Not bad at all!
For me, a bowl of olives are the perfect accompaniment to any antipasti. I love them in salads as well. I like my leafy green salads to be very light on the dressing, so one of my favorite ways to bring in some more added flavor is to add a handful of olives to my salad bowl. (My mouth instantly salivates every time I pass a beautiful display of olives in any salad bar, so I have little control over them being piled into the bowl anyhow.)
And that brings us to this recipe! Here’s a dish that showcases both olives and extra virgin olive oil together. Surprisingly, the inspiration behind this dish came from an episode of No Reservations. Anthony Bourdain was being versed in the Italian tradition of “The Vigil,” a traditional Christmas Eve feast of several seafood dishes consumed in one evening. One of the dishes he tasted was an octopus salad filled with warm potatoes, olives, capers, herbs, and olive oil. I was immediately intrigued and knew that I would be recreating a version of that dish in the near future. As fate would have it, I recently spied a prepared package of cooked clams, mussels, and calamari in the fresh seafood section of my local grocery store, and thus, this recipe was born.
I used a medley of red, blue, and yellow fingerling potatoes to give the salad even more vibrant color. I also had some cherry tomatoes in the fridge and thought they would be a wonderful addition. Feel free to leave out the seafood to make this vegan friendly. This salad was so simple to put together, and the finished product was a delight to experience. Try it! Your taste buds, along with your health, will be amazed yet again by the power of the olive.
Seafood Italian Salad with Olives – Serves 4
¾ lb baby fingerling potatoes, diced
4 garlic cloves, whole and peeled
2 bay leafs
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 ½ lbs seafood medley: sliced calamari, cooked clams and mussels, shells removed
6 oz black olives, such as Kalamata, pitted and halved
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons Italian parsley leaves, rough chopped
1 ½ tablespoon capers
1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
1. In a medium pot, boil potatoes with the garlic and bay leaves. Strain out potatoes, reserving the water, leaves, and garlic. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
2. Return potato water to a boil, adding in red pepper. When water reaches a boil, add seafood medley, immediately turning the heat off on the stove. Let sit for 4 minutes. Strain water, discarding bay leaves and garlic, and add to potatoes.
3. Mix in all other ingredients, gently tossing them together until evenly incorporated. Serve immediately.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.
Follow Add Some Life on Twitter and Facebook for more inspiration on ways to “Build a Better Salad” with olives and olive oil.
*Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the Add Some Life as part of the Kitchen Play Sidecar series. All opinions given are my own. Some information about olive oil and olives was provided by Add Some Life.