The Cooking Method That Enhances The Meaty Flavor Of Olives

If you think snacking on a bowl of warm, spiced olives sounds appetizing, just wait until you hear what we've got in store for you. Briny and salty, olives are particularly craveable because of their earthy funk and meaty bite. This savory quality is thanks to olives being one of the many foods rich with a naturally-occurring amino acid known as glutamate. And more of these glutamates can be released as the proteins within an ingredient are broken down through processes like aging, fermenting, or even cooking, which further magnify their umami flavor.

But, while olives can undergo many cooking methods, different processes yield different results. If you're undecided on whether you should roast, sauté, or fry olives to bring out the highest degree of meatiness, let us settle that debate now. If you're looking to elevate the olive's nuanced flavors, there's one cooking process that will forever rethink how you enjoy the bite-sized fruits.

Air frying gives olives a major flavor upgrade

While roasting olives can certainly make them aromatic and decadent, Lifehacker shares that air frying olives takes this a step further and transforms the fruits into ultra tender morsels with highly concentrated savory depth. As the olives brown in the air fryer they even start to display more nuanced aromas and flavors such as a surprising nuttiness.

As for which olives to use, it's really up to you. While any pitted or unpitted variety can work, choosing high quality olives that are both firm and plump like a purple Gaeta, green Cerignola, or bronze Arbequina are all good choices as they won't shrivel down as easily. To really amp up the complexity, you can even use stuffed olives — cheese, garlic, pimento, or otherwise — so long as you remember that fillings may ooze slightly and create some mess. 

Making air fried olives is a nearly effortless to get an indelible taste of the Mediterranean. In a recipe shared by Fork to Spoon, after dressing olives with (naturally) olive oil , oregano, fennel, garlic, and red pepper, they can be added to the fryer basket and cooked at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about 5 minutes. While they might initially sputter oil and begin to blister, trust the process!