In our Secrets From the Kitchen series, Food Network Canada recipe developers share their best cooking secrets for their favourite recipes. On today’s menu: Gigi Madanipour’s Marinated Persian Olives With Whipped Ricotta.
This easy appetizer is one of my favourites to serve guests over the holidays. In Persian, we call it Zeytoon Parvardeh, and what I love most about this recipe is that it tastes even better if you make it ahead of time, which can be a real time saver! Typically these Persian olives are served on their own, but my secret for setting this dish apart is serving over whipped ricotta — the balance of the salty olives and creamy ricotta go together beautifully.
To get the full holiday menu, check out our roundup of Secrets From the Kitchen holiday recipes.
In a food processor, grind 1 cup walnuts. Alternatively, walnuts can be finely chopped.
Combine 1 cup walnuts, mint and garlic in a medium bowl.
Add olives and toss to combine.
Add oil, pomegranate molasses, salt and pepper as needed. Pomegranate molasses is very concentrated and sour, so start with a ½ cup and add more to your liking.
Refrigerate for a minimum 2 hours or for best results, overnight.
Remove from the fridge and let sit for 15-20 minutes until room temperature.
Meanwhile, prepare the roasted garlic for whipped ricotta. Cut off top of garlic bulb.
Drizzle garlic bulb with olive oil and wrap in foil, cut side up. Bake for 35-40 minutes until garlic is fork tender. Remove and set aside.
In a food processor, combine ricotta, olive oil, roasted garlic cloves, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Process until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Transfer to a serving dish.
Place olives on top of whipped ricotta and serve, garnishing with extra walnut pieces and olive oil to taste.