The olive harvest is well underway across the Middle East and North Africa, from Tunisia to the West Bank. For many of us, olives are a cherished staple at meal times, and the Mediterranean diet uses them in many different ways. We’ve recently been inspired by restaurant style “warm olives for the table.” It sounds fancier than it is but couldn’t be any simpler. Olives are warmed with olive oil, zesty citrus, fragrant thyme, fennel seeds, garlic and a bit of chili for some heat. The olives completely mellow out in that glistening, fragrant olive oil bath.
We use a mix of our favorite olives including castelvetrano, nicoise, kalamata and cerignola. Feel free to use whatever you have. We love serving these straight out of the skillet with plenty of sourdough for dipping. Perfect alongside a cheeseboard or as an appetizer for your guests to nibble on before dinner. Casual, easy and delicious, just how we like it.
serves up to 4 as an appetizer
- 450 grams mixed olives
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 serrano chili, whole
- 6-8 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- the peels from 1 lemon and 1 small orange
Heat the olive oil, garlic, chili, thyme, fennel seeds, orange and lemon peels in a medium size skillet over medium heat. Once the fennel seeds start to sizzle ever so slightly and the garlic releases its flavor (about 2-3 minutes), turn the heat down to medium-low and add the olives. Let the olives warm and meld with the flavors over low heat for about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve warm directly from the skillet with For the Love of Bread sourdough country batard slices for dipping. Enjoy!