My mother made good olive salad also, but she often stared with bottled olive salad and added chopped black olives from a can. She added mashed anchovies which really punched up the flavor. She also added whole thinly sliced lemons which were very edible having marinated in the olive oil. mmm.
So I have altered the recipe to fit my tastes. I have kept the anchovies and lemons, use good black olives and I have added artichoke hearts. Obviously this is a work in progress for each generation. I remember both of them when I eat it.
3 Generation Olive Salad
1 anchovy filet
2 cups, coarsely chopped black olives (the better the olives, the better the salad) This does not mean what is sold in a can as chopped black olives, it means black olives that you have chopped.
3 cups, coarsely chopped cured green olives with pimento
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced raw carrot
1 very very thinly sliced lemon, including any juice that can be saved
Boiled quartered baby artichokes, about 10 artichokes, fresh is best – This is about 2 packs of frozen, boiled and cooled. Canned can be substituted in a pinch, but the taste is inferior
1 cup finely diced raw cauliflower (optional)
4 minced garlic cloves
¼ cup capers, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped, or 6 tablespoons dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
Mash the anchovy with a tablespoon or two of olive oil in the bottom of the bowl you are using. Mash until it totally dissolves into the oil. Add all ingredients except olive oil and oregano. Mix the ingredients. Add enough olive oil to just barely cover the mixture. Use a fruity olive oil. Stir well so that the mixture is even, without clumps of like ingredients. After an hour taste the mixture. If it needs more acidity add a bit more lemon juice to taste. Because of the olives and anchovy this mixture will probably not need additional salt, but add it if you like.
This recipe is very forgiving and flexible.