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Catholic Recipe: Mission Olives and Meyer Lemon Relish

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup mission olives
  • 2 preserved Meyer lemons (packed in salt, submerged in lemon juice)
  • 4 I'Itoi onions or other shallots
  • 4 teaspoons minced flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • sea salt to taste

Details

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The Franciscan Friars who came to California as missionaries brought many foods that have become common to California: citrus, olives, grapes, figs, etc.

One of the earliest olive trees still stands today where Padre Juan Ugarte planted it in Baja California in 1699, and still produces freestone olives. This tree is only a four minute walk from the altar of the Mission of San Francisco Xavier.

The olive trees took 5 years to bear fruit, so this was the first priority of the Spanish padres. These friars were from the Mediterranean and would have had difficulty having life without the oil.

This recipe uses the traditional mission olives which are mild and rich in oil.

This would be an appropriate recipe for the feast of St. Junipero Serra.

DIRECTIONS

Chop the pitted olives and the preserved lemons and then peel and dice the shallots. In a glass mixing bowl, combine these ingredients and stir in the minced parsley. Thin the mixture with olive oil, then season with the pepper and, if necessary, the salt.

This recipe makes a cup of relish, which is good to serve with fish or cold roasted meats.

Recipe Source: Renewing America's Food Traditions: Saving and Savoring the Continent's Most Endangered Foods by Gary Paul Nabhan, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2008