With the holiday season upon us, it seems that every other night there is a holiday party to attend (yay!), often with the request to bring a snack to share (boo!). But forget that three-dollar bottle of Trader Joe’s wine; Mixed Marinated Olives are a festive, no-cook recipe that’s easy to tote along to a cocktail party. More flavorful and colorful that regular olives in brine, they have a homemade look with minimal effort. The strong pine flavor of rosemary and thyme hold up to the salty olives and give the dish a wintry flair.
Olives are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds and contain high amounts of copper and iron. While they are high in fat (80-85% of the calories in an olive come from fat), it’s the “good kind” that we hear about–monounsaturated fat, which the same good fat found in extra virgin olive oil. No surprise there. Olives are also a good, wholesome way to satisfy that salty snack craving that seems to arise at a party about one beer in.
For these Marinated Mixed Olives, I used a mixture of pitted castelvetrano (bright green), kalamata (large purple) and nicoise (small purple), but use any olives that you like (I’m a big fan of meaty-tasting gaetas as well). I think olives with pits tend to taste better than pitted, but depending on the familiarity of the party guests with one another, you might want to go pit-less. It can be hard to pick up a dude while spitting an olive pit out of your mouth. Or so I’ve heard.
1 quart of olives (I used a mixture of castelvetrano, kalamata and nicoise)
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red chili flake, or more to taste
zest from 1 lemon (use a microplane or fine grater)
2 tablespoons minced rosemary
2 tablespoons minced thyme
4 garlic cloves
1. Drain the olives from their brine and put the olives in a large bowl.
2. Add the olive oil, chili flake, lemon zest, rosemary and thyme to the bowl. Using the side of your knife blade, smash each garlic clove and peel of the skin and discard. Add the peeled garlic cloves to the bowl and stir everything to combine. Refrigerate and return to room temperature before serving.
These can be served immediately or days later but taste best after one day of marinating.