Palestine and Jordan Olive Dip (Maazat Zaytoon)




2 cups green olives, pitted and washed
4 tbsp. tahini
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1 sm. tomato, finely chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil


Place all ingredients except tomatoes and olive oil in a blender and blend until smooth.

Spread on a serving platter and refrigerate for 1 hour. Garnish with tomato pieces, sprinkle with oil, and serve.

Author's Comments

Olives are the fruit of an evergreen tree with small silvery green leaves bearing clusters of fragrant white flowers. The plant, started from a cutting, grows in height from 10 to 40 feet and begins to bear fruit when 4 to 8 years old. An olive tree takes about 15 years to mature fully, but will bear fruit for hundreds of years. Some trees in the eastern Mediterranean are believed to be over 2,000 years old.

Table olives are usually picked by hand while the ones for oil are either beaten off the branches or allowed to fall on the ground and then gathered. An orchard will yield about two tons of olives per acre--a ton producing about 50 gallons of oil.

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