Cracked Green Olives
It's one of the most traditional ways to treat green olives before serving them. Choose green olives from Chalkidiki, as they are renown for their fine flavour.
herbs (fennel, fennel, oregano, savory, thyme)
Rinse with cold water the freshly gathered green olives.
On a flat surface, crack each fruit with a stone or a meat mallet and soak the olives in cold water for 6-8 days depending on the size of the fruits—changing the water every 12 or 24 hours.
Taste after 6 days. Olives should be just slightly bitter. Drain and salt liberally.
Let stand 12-36 hours, according to how salty you want the olives to be.
Transfer the olives to jars, squeezing to fit as many as possible. Add in-between the olives the herbs of your choice: Several sprigs of wild fennel or coarsely crushed fennel seeds, dried oregano, savory or thyme etc.
Fill the jars with olive oil, seal and let stand at room temperature for a week, before consuming.
If you have salted them lightly, as I do, you need to process the jars in boiling water to seal properly, or keep in the refrigerator.
Let come to room temperature before serving, and dress the olives with lemon juice and orange or lemon zest, chopped garlic and red or black pepper, if you like.