Ceuso's Green Olive Salad

Winemaker Giuseppe Melia couldn’t have been a more gracious host when we visited Ceuso last month, the winery he co-founded with his two brothers in western Sicily. He and his niece prepared a marvelous lunch of fresh ricotta, Sicilian pecorino, the sweet-sour eggplant dish called caponata, and other scrumptious fare to go with their beautiful wines, including a benchmark nero d’avola and a symphonically complex cabernet blend. But I was really intrigued when Giuseppe started sprinkling fresh minced mint over of a plate of ripe green olives (sourced from the winery’s own trees, naturally).  Mint with olives? Mmm boy, it really works! Here’s the “recipe,” simple as Sicilian sunshine:

- Load a plate with plump green olives (preferably from your Mediterranean olive grove)
- Mince some fresh mint and sprinkle over olives
- Add some chopped sundried tomatoes (make sure they’re tender, not old and hard!)
- Douse the entire plate with lots of olive oil

Serve with a glass of Ceuso’s eponymous blend of Nero d’Avola/Cabernet/Merlot. Salute!