By Sheela Prakash, Epicurious
So, you say you don't like olives?
Olives are polarizing. While so many people adore their unique flavor, others shun them. The thing is, and I really believe this: everyone can learn to like olives. I hated olives until I actively tried to like them. I started small--tucking them away in focaccia or blitzing them into a spread. Soon, I began acquiring a taste for them. Now I've joined the small but vocal crowd of olive lovers. Yep, this is Project Olive. Gather your olive hating friends and make them believers:
STEP 1: TAPENADE
Olives are just one component of flavor-packed tapenade, so making a sandwich with a thin swipe of it a good place to start on your olive quest. Garlic, anchovies, capers, and citrus zest mingle with the briny olives to produce a spread that's a great introduction to olives without being too much olive.
STEP 2: PUTTANESCA
When chopped olives are hiding behind a cloak of tomato sauce and plenty of garlic, it's a safe situation. This riff on the classic Italian puttanesca sauce punches up otherwise ho-hum haddock resulting in a salty, hearty dish that's easy to like.
STEP 3: PANZANELLA
There's so much happening in this Italian bread salad that you'll hardly notice the olives. But instead of hiding in a sauce, they're tucked among torn radicchio, shaved fennel, cheese, slices of salami, and hunks of toasted bread.
STEP 4: ROAST CHICKEN WITH OLIVES
Roasting chicken legs over a bed of fingerling potatoes and pitted Kalamata olives is an easy win. Crispy roasted chicken and potatoes are a familiar favorite, but the olives add just the right amount of salty brine to them. There's a lot of olive flavor here, but roast chicken is so easy to love.
STEP 5: THE WHOLE OLIVE AND NOTHING BUT THE OLIVE
Congratulations! If your olive hater has made it this far it's time to try a few on their own. But just in case, a soak in gin and vermouth helps ease any final olive-related tension.
More from Epicurious:
20 Must-Try Ways to Pair Items You Already Have In Your Pantry