Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I go through phases. There was my quilting phase. And my knitting phase. And last spring, my Dirty Martini phase. For some reason that was the only thing I wanted to drink. Vodka, a hint of Martini & Rossi extra dry vermouth, and a bit of brine from the olive jar. For a while I Frenched things up, switching in Lillet for the Martini & Rossi. But the final touch, always: three pimento-stuffed green olives.
Pimento-stuffed green olives. Really? This is by far the most industrially- produced condiment in my fridge. It finally dawned on me that I maybe I didn’t have to use these hard little pitted nubbins from who knows where. (and what's with those 'pimentos'?) I had at least five other kinds of olives on hand, bought at the farmer's market, so why not try to use those.
I decided to skip the whole brine thing (my sister, Jodi, will be shaking her head by now. She could drink the entire jar of brine). But I figured to get a really olivey taste going (which is what you want, right?) , all I had to do was muddle the hell out of the little things.
I used two types of olives. Olive Bianche from Viterbo were big and juicy and sitting in a murky brine. The other were hard, intensely flavored, slightly bitter, Olive Nere di Gaeta. And instead of being brined, they had been slow- dried in a oven, and so had a slightly smoky taste.
The Martini turned out just how I imagined it tasting. The rich, strong taste that we all love in Italian olives came shining through. I don’t think anyone will describe the cloudy, olive-infused vodka as pretty. (You certainly can't picture Don Draper sipping one) But the olives on the toothpick that had sat in my drink for a half hour? Divine.
Un Martini Sporco
2 1/2 oz vodka
2 large good quality Italian olives in brine, with pit
4 small black dried olives
1 Tablespoon Martini & Rossi extra dry vermouth
Carefully pit the olives, both kind, trying not to destroy them.
In a shaker, place 1 brined olive and 2 black olives and add vodka,
Muddle well, mashing up those olives as best you can.
Add vermouth and ice. and stir, to chill.
(I can’t stand shaken martinis, since it delutes them too much and they lose that silky texture)
Slip the remaining olives on to a toothpick, and place in martini glass (chilled if you like)
Carefully pour the contents of the shaker into glass, using a fine sieve to keep out the olive bits.