One of my favorite things about the foie gras terrine with beet juice at WD-50 was the candied olives. They were briny but sweet, and stuck to my molars like a Sugar Daddy. I also loved them in the arroz de pato at Aldea: they mixed in the with the chorizo and duck confit like little flecks of olive candy.
So when I was planning to recreate that arroz de pato at home, I knew I wanted to make a candied olive garnish. Funny thing is, if you search for candied olive recipe on Google, you’re not going to come up with too much.
Because I believe what I was really looking for was dehydrated olives that had also been candied, and most of the recipes online seem to call for cooking them in simple syrup. The method that seemed closest to what I was looking for called for cooking them for a long time in a low oven.
I chose some olives that already had some natural sweetness. (Yes, I sampled at the grocery store. Don’t tell anyone. I was careful not to spread my germs.) The sweetest ones I could find still had their pits so I had to de-pit them. Just take the side of your knife like you were going to smash some garlic and gently press on the olive.
It will wriggle out easily:
I rough-chopped a pint of olives, and tossed them with 1/4 cup of sugar. Then I sprinkled a little more brown sugar on top.
Baked in the oven for 2 hours at 170 degrees.
You know what? Not dehydrated and candied like at the restaurants, but pretty darn close. And good enough for a garnish — whether for arroz de pato or something else. Like pizza? We’ll see soon enough.
1 pint olives
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 170.
Pit the olives, if necessary. Rough chop them. Toss in a bowl with 1/4 cup brown sugar.
Spread the olives on the parchment paper and sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar on top.
Bake for 2 hours, until the sugar has melted and caramelized and the olives are dry but not brittle.