For the past several years now, whenever I see marinated olives on a menu, I order them. The obsession began a few years back when we first tried Vera’s absolutely divine marinated olives in the West Loop. They were served warm, with a hint of citrus, a dash of herbs and the tiniest yet most effective kick to them. I worship them. Since that moment, when I see “marinated olives” I order, then I devour them. I have come to realize that they must be warm, as cold marinated olives do nothing for me. Also, I want to actually taste the herbs. These little balls of love should not be made to just look pretty, but they should taste incredible too. One would think there’s no need to be so picky when it comes to these beautiful little balls, but don’t be mistaken, there is very much a right and wrong way to make the perfect marinated olive. Seeing as though I have eaten these little fellas all over the world, I thought I’d take it upon myself to create an olive order all my own based on my culinary experience as an avid eater. Ladies and gentlemen, after some test trials I think I have crafted the perfect, most delicious at home recipe for marinated olives. And guess what…it’s freaking easy! You truly cannot screw this up. So listen up….
Here’s what you’ll need:
2 cups of Castelvetrano olives, available at Mariano’s
1 cup of small Spanish brown olives, available at Mariano’s
2-3 sprigs rosemary, removed from stem and chopped
2-3 sprigs thyme, removed from stem
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of whole garlic, peeled
crushed red pepper (to taste)
zest of one orange
Ok, now that you have what you need, let’s whip up some badass olives. Go ahead and warm up that olive oil on a low heat. Once it is warm, throw in everything but the olives and crushed red pepper. Let the oil become totally and utterly infused with all of those amazing flavors. Once the aroma has been turned up to high gear, throw in your olives. Let those babies bathe in the oil for about 15 minutes on low heat. Taste an olive after about 15 minutes and check the flavor. You want to taste your ingredients so if you need more of something, don’t be shy, toss more in. Taste as you go. Once you feel the flavor embodies what is indeed perfection, sprinkle a bit of heat on top via crushed red pepper and prepare to serve right away. You want yourself and/or guests eating them as they are warm. And you know what, they are going to fucking love them! These are a great small bite for a party, the perfect addition to a charcuterie plate or hell, a perfect evening snack to pair with vino.
TIP: Be sure to have a little bowl next to your big bowl of olives for the pits. Toss them out every so often to make room for more because these little warm balls of love are going to be ravaged.
Whip some up and let me know how you love them!
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