Perfect for entertaining and snacking, these delicious marinated olives will serve as a beautiful addition to your next gathering! And they also make a wonderfully elegant and tasty gift!
These homemade marinated olives are a real show-stopper. Plump, juicy, and packed full of flavor, they’re perfect for entertaining, snacking, including at the dinner table or giving away as a thoughtful, classy gift.
I don’t know when or how it started, but olives are almost always present for any family dinners involving my parents. Any time my parents come over for dinner my dad always brings a jar of olives. It’s almost mechanical: Dad walks in the door, is buried by the grandkids, reaches in his bag, pulls out the olives and hands them to me, I empty them into a small serving bowl and put them on the dinner table. And we have olives for dinner regardless of what’s being served. As far as my dad is concerned, no dinner is complete without them. And should he forget to bring them, the predictable comment that follows: “Oh nuts, I forgot the olives!” And occasionally there’s the antiquated expletive “cockeyed!” sprinkled in there, too. My dad’s pretty serious about his olives.
This tradition in recent years has extended to olives as gifts. If we’re traveling somewhere my husband and I will often pick up some gourmet marinated olives to bring back for my dad. And so it finally hit me this year, why not make my own? I got excited at thought of having several jars of different flavored marinated olives, proudly stashed in our pantry, to get out for those family dinners, give to my dad as a “thank you” for babysitting our kids on date night, and for giving away to friends as gifts.
And speaking of gifts, did I mention they make the perfect gift?
Whether from A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, or any other such heart-warming classic, we’ve all grown up with the sentiment that giving is more rewarding than receiving. And that’s especially true when the gift is from the heart, when it involves a little more than going to the store, laying down some money, and tossing an item in the shopping bag to take home. Not that we don’t appreciate gifts like that (we do, we do!), but most of us have experienced how nice it is to receive a simple gift that was thoughtfully prepared by the giver. The time and effort that goes into making the gift speaks love and thoughtfulness more than money handed to a cashier. At least it does to me. And so whatever other store-bought gifts I may be giving to the friends and family, I always like to include something homemade.
And doesn’t everyone enjoy good food?
Here is a visually beautiful, deliciously tasty, and elegant gift you can easily put together for your friends, family, co-workers or neighbors. Gourmet marinated olives come with a hefty price tag in specialty stores or at the deli, but these you can make for a fraction of the cost and they taste simply divine.
And I can’t think of anything more classy to give than a jar of beautifully vibrant, plump marinated olives, can you? Olives are gourmet, healthy, they taste amazing, and your friends will think you’re a person of impeccable taste and class. You’ll enjoy the response you get as you give these delightful olives to the people you care about. And you’ll love the feeling of personal fulfillment that you’ll experience.
Just spoon some olives into canning jars, screw on the lids, and for a little added homemade touch cover the lids with a square of material and tie with some twine.
For whatever purpose you make these olives, they’ll be a guaranteed hit. Just be sure to make them in advance because they need to sit for a week before you use them in order to enjoy optimal flavor. The longer they sit the better they’ll taste!
We’re going to use a combination of green, black and kalamata olives for a nice array of color and flavor.
First a word about one of the ingredients, Preserved Lemons. Do you have to use them? No. Can you use some fresh lemon zest instead? Of course. But the flavor of preserved lemons is totally different. Like in a movie, if the olives are the star, the preserved lemon is the co-star. The magical depth of mellow citrus flavor that these preserved lemons impart to the olives cannot be overstated. They’re simply amazing. They’re ridiculously easy to make yourself, it just requires some advance planning because they need to sit for at least 3 weeks before you use them. But don’t despair, I’ve got you covered.
Homemade Preserved Lemons
Marinated Olives Recipe
Now let’s make those scrumptious marinated olives!
Drain the olives. You’ll want to give the black olives a rinse so their juices don’t discolor the other olives.
Look at that beautiful collection of plump, multi-colored olives! Oh, the possibilities…
You can really use any herbs and seasonings of your choice. This time we’re going to use fresh thyme, rosemary, coriander and fennel seeds, bay leaves, garlic, a little dried red chili for some spiciness, extra virgin olive oil and those wonderful preserved lemons.
Be sure to use good quality extra virgin olive oil as the flavor will greatly impact the outcome of the marinated olives.
To bring out the flavor of the coriander and fennel we’re going to toast them.
First give them a quick smash in a ziplock bag just to crack them open. Heat a small, dry pan over medium-high heat and, once hot, add the coriander and fennel seeds. Roast until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes, shaking pan frequently towards the end. Be careful not to scorch them.
Pour in the olive oil and let it heat up for just a minute then remove from the heat.
Add all the remaining ingredients and let the mixture sit for a few minutes until cooled down.
NOTE: Unless you like super spicy food, be very careful how much dried red chili you add. A little goes a very long way and the spiciness only increases over time. Omit entirely if you don’t like heat.
Pour the marinade over the olives and stir to combine. Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least a week before eating them. The longer they sit, the better they’ll taste. You can also go ahead and divide the olives into gift jars first and then store them in the fridge until ready to give away.
The olives will keep in the refrigerator for at least a month. Give them a little shake every now and then. Bring to room temperature before serving.
And don’t forget to share the love and give some olives away!
Gourmet Marinated Olives
- 1 1/2 pounds assorted olives (kalamata, black, green, Spanish, etc) drained, **rinse the darker colored olives so they don't discolor the other lighter colors
- 3/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 preserved lemon , pulp removed and discarded then the rind rinsed and finely diced
- homemade preserved lemons (click link for recipe)
- 4 cloves garlic , thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds , lightly cracked
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds , lightly cracked
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- 3 bay leaves , broken into pieces
- 1 dried red chili , membrane and seeds removed, broken into pieces (see NOTE)
- Rinse the black olives so their juices don't discolor the other olives. Drain all the other olives in a colander, place them in a large bowl and set aside.
- Heat a small dry pan over medium-high heat and, once hot, add the coriander and fennel seeds. Roast until very fragrant, about 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Be careful not to scorch them. Add the olive oil and heat for a minute. Remove from heat and add all remaining ingredients except for the olives. Let sit until the marinade has cooled down.
- Pour the marinade over the olives and stir to combine. Cover the olives and let them sit in the fridge for a week or so for best flavor before eating them. Give them a shake every couple of days.
- The olives will keep in the fridge for at least a month. Give them an occasional shake. Bring to room temperature before serving.Makes 1 1/2 pounds of marinated olives.
Originally published on The Daring Gourmet Nov 17, 2014