The recipe for zeytun perverde, a delectable Persian appetizer made of green olives, walnuts, and pomegranate arils, comes from my dear friend Nahid’s mom, aunt Khedije, an exceptional cook of both Azerbaijani and Persian dishes (she is an Azeri living in Iran). Zeytun perverde originates in the North of Iran.
If pomegranate is not available where you are, or if it is out of season, do not fear, for aunt Khedije suggests a great substitution – dried cranberries.
Try this medley with wedges of lavash flatbread, or scooped onto crackers or as is.
OLIVE-WALNUT-POMEGRANATE MEDLEY (Zeytun Perverde)
Note: you can play with the amount of ingredients and adjust them to your liking.
1 cup walnuts
4 cups pitted green olives, sliced
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup pomegranate arils (variation: dried cranberries)
2 tablespoons (adjust to taste) red wine vinegar or apple cider
2 tablespoons (adjust to taste) pomegranate paste (narsharab, available in Middle Eastern markets)
about 3 tablespoons olive oil (adjust to taste)
Smash the walnuts with the back of a large knife (chef’s knife works great), then chop coarsely (smashing should get their oils going). In a mixing bowl, combine the olives, onion, walnuts, pomegranate arils. Add the vinegar, pomegranate paste, and olive oil. Toss to combine. Pack into a jar and store in the refrigerator.