Alfonso olives are really interesting. They are an olive from Chile that has been cured with red wine, resulting in an intense purple and wine enriched olive. (As a side note, if olives can be cured with red wine, what else could be used in the curing process: miso, soy sauce, maple syrup?)
I became intrigued with these olives many years ago after a discussion with another chef, Keith Korn, about David Bouley's port-olive sauce. Upon reflection and a search of the internet I cannot find the recipe of inspiration and introduction, so my mind may have woven several ideas together.
The only other sauce of Bouley's that I can find is a port-passionfruit-paprika sauce served with lobster. That too sounds delicious. In fact, I am often fascinated and inspired by the simple complexity of Bouley's sauces. Upon further reflection I would love to see a book on the sauces and inspirations of David Bouley. That is something to wish for.
Back to the olives. I was recently at the store when I saw a large vat of these beautiful olives. I was immediately taken down memory lane and purchased a pint to work with. I started by taking the pits out of the olives and then simmered them with some agave, isomalt, glucose, a dash of cayenne and Madeira. My first plan was to make purple olive crisps. Yet, after tasting the finished base, I have a number of other thoughts as well: a brine for beef cheeks, a blanket for beets, a poaching medium for squab, a fluid gel to serve with cheese and crackers, a flavoring for cavatelli.
In any event, we have an incredible flavor base on hand which will eventually open doors and paths which will yield delicious results.