Elies Tsakistes (Coriander Crushed Olives) are a popular meze (appetiser) all throughout Cyprus. Elies Tsakistes are crushed green olives marinated with coriander seeds, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. The word “tsakistes” in Greek translates to “cracked” because of the method used to make this olive dish. Traditionally each olive is cracked or crushed with a smooth stone. This method is so the added ingredients can penetrate through the olive flesh. In modern times a mortar and pestle can be used to prepare Elies Tsakistes also.
ELIES TSAKISTES RECIPE
Serve: This recipe makes x1 large sized jar of Elies Tsakistes
Prep Time: 1 and a half weeks to change the salt water and a further 40 days for the olives to marinade
X1 large jar worth of green olives fresh from an olive tree.
X2-3 garlic cloves
Wedges of x1 and a half lemons
X1 Large Jar
Collect your olives whilst they are still young and green from an olive tree. They must be picked before they ripen into a dark purple/black colour.
Wash olives thoroughly with water.
Use a large smooth stone to crack the olives. Alternatively, a mortar and pestle can be used. It’s important not to “over” crack the olives because you still want them semi-attached to the pip, just opened; this is so the salt-water marinade, can penetrate the olive flesh.
Add the cracked olives to a large jar of salt water.
Change the salt water once every three days. Olives are quite bitter and unpleasant when eaten straight from the tree. Soaking olives in water and changing it regularly helps to reduce their bitter flavour. To change the water, set aside the olives into a bowl and add fresh water to the jar. Fill the jar just over 3/4 with water. This is so the water doesn’t rise out and spill when the olives are added back into the jar. Add a few heaped tablespoons of salt and stir the salt well to dissolve. Change the water about 3 times, every three days. After the final water change, the olives are ready to be marinated.
Change the water once more and add a few tbs of salt. Add lemon wedges and a few crushed garlic cloves into the salt water solution. Add the olives back to the jar and pour a few drops of olive oil on top. Make sure the salt water marinade covers the olives. Tighten the jar lid and leave the Elies Tsakistes to marinade for about 40 days.
After a month try an olive to see if you’re happy with the flavour. Before serving you can add a few more slivers of garlic, crushed coriander seeds and mix it all together. The added garlic and coriander seeds will intensify the lovely flavour of the Elies Tsakistes.
Special thanks go to the Instagram account @thecarolinskifor the cover photograph!