Step away from the baby carrots and ranch dressing. Put the clip back on that bag of Kettle Chips.
If you’re having people over for dinner, or you’re just sitting in front of a table fan watching reruns of the Olympics with your significant other, these olives will elevate your cocktail hour.
The citrus zest, fresh herbs, and whole spices give the olives a multi-layered flavor. I like using whole spices so you get little explosions of intense taste depending on where you bite down. The complex flavors linger in your mouth, which encourages you to eat slowly and deliberately.
Roasting brings out something entirely different in olives. They become juicy and pliant. The pit separates easily from the meat. If you buy a variety of types, you can really appreciate the different personalities of each one.
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 lb mixed olives, with pits (or without, your choice)
- zest of 1 orange (you can substitute lemon here)
- 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
- 1 Tbsp good olive oil
- 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- pinch hot pepper flakes
- leaves from 1 or 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- several sprigs fresh thyme
- several thin slices of orange (or lemon)
- Set oven to 350F
- Toast the seeds for about 5 minutes over medium heat in a pan on the stove, shaking the pan often to redistribute the spices.
- Toss the toasted seeds, and all the above ingredients, together in a bowl
- Spread the orange slices on the bottom of a small baking dish. Arrange the olive mixture on top and bake for about 30 minutes. Serve hot, with napkins, a little bowl for the pits, and two glasses of wine.
Notes: Buy olives from an olive bar for this dish, they are so much fresher tasting than canned or jarred. You can store these in a container in the refrigerator and reheat them just before serving.