Spicy Moroccan Olive Relish

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  24 one-tablespoon servings (1½ cups total)
Prep Time:  20 minutes Cook Time:  0 minutes

Spicy Moroccan Olive Relish

Here’s a zesty, spicy condiment that sings a distinctly Moroccan tune. The peel of a preserved lemons gives this relish its Moroccan flair. If you’ve got time, pit whole olives—it’s easy to do and they tend to taste both richer and meatier.


12 ounces mixed olives (black, green and/or red, oil cured strongly preferred)

¼ cup Tami’s homemade Preserved Lemons or 1 store-bought preserved lemon

2 teaspoons harissa (or more to taste)

Juice of one Meyer lemon

1 teaspoon olive oil


  1. If you are using whole olives, pit them. Working with 1 olive at a time, gently but firmly press the olives with the side of a chef’s knife or cleaver to split them and loosen their pits. Remove and discard the pits. Then chop the pitted olives coarsely and put them into a heat-resistant bowl.
  2. If you make preserved lemons using our recipe, simply rinse and cut into thin strips and place in a bowl. Then go directly to step 4. If you use another recipe or use a store-bought version, rinse the preserved lemon under cold running water for at least 2 minutes. Cut into quarters and scrape away the flesh and white pith, so that all that is left is the outer peel. Cut crosswise into thin strips. Add to the olives.
  3. Boil 4 cups of water in small pot or in the microwave. Pour 2 cups of the boiled water over the olive mixture, stir, and strain, discarding the water. Repeat with the remaining water. This step removes some of the saltiness from the olives and lemon peel and makes the relish milder.
  4. Add the harissa, lemon juice, and oil to the olive mixture and mix well. Transfer to an airtight glass jar with a cover. This relish will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Kitchen Tips

  1. If you can’t find Meyer lemons, substitute 2 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon orange juice.
  2. You can use any kind of olives you can find, but keep in mind that the quality of the dish depends on the quality of your ingredients. Oil-cured olives have a meatier taste and texture, but can sometimes be highly spiced. Olives from a jar can turn mushy with age. Olives from Spain, France, Turkey, and Israel are your best bets for flavorful bites. Avoid canned olives for this recipe.

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