Marinated Olives with Citrus and Herbs are an easy appetizer for your next party. They’re also perfect for happy hour with a glass of wine!
I tried warm marinated olives several years ago at a restaurant, and I’ve been thinking of them ever since. I searched the restaurant’s website for the olives but they appear to be long gone from the menu.
So I created them at home, and I’m SO glad I did. They were a hit at a holiday buffet that I put together with my friend Kelley of Haviland Events. She created the table decor (from Target and Michael’s) and I did the food.
Now back to the Marinated Olives! Here’s how I made them:
How to make marinated olives
Start with olive oil. Mine is a mixture of olive oil and extra virgin olive oil from Trader Joe’s. Most olive oils will do just fine here.
Heat the oil gently in a sauté pan over medium heat. Then add the aromatics: garlic, rosemary, fennel, and orange zest cut into strips. I used a citrus zester like this one to create the strips—I think they look prettier than using a microplane.
But if you just have a microplane, that works, too! The zest will impart a lovely citrus flavor.
Heat the aromatics in the oil for a few minutes until the garlic is mostly cooked, and then stir in the olives.
The olives are delicious right away, but they are even better after a day or two in the refrigerator for the flavors to marry.
How to choose aromatics for marinated olives
I LOVE the combination of garlic, rosemary, fennel, and orange zest. The flavors keep you guessing and they complement the olives so well.
Here are few substitution ideas:
- Thyme would be a great substitute for the rosemary.
- Lemon zest would be delicious in lieu of the orange zest.
- Red pepper flakes will add some heat!
- If you don’t like fennel, leave it out. Fennel always reminds of me Italian sausage, so I find that it lends a “meaty” taste to these olives
Serving the olives
If the olives are coming from the refrigerator, place the olives, olive oil, and aromatics in a sauté pan.
Place the pan over medium heat and cook for 2–3 minutes, or until the oil becomes liquid again (it solidifies in the refrigerator) and the olives are warm. Serve immediately while warm, or serve at room temperature.
The olives are a delightful addition to a cheese board, or a snack to enjoy with wine before dinner. I personally love them alongside some crusty bread + butter as an appetizer.
Marinated Olives with Citrus and Herbs
- ½ lb assorted pitted olives, drained
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 small sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- Zest from one orange
- Warm the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves, rosemary, fennel seeds, and orange zest. Heat for 2–3 minutes, or until the garlic is mostly cooked.
- Add the olives. Stir to coat the olives with the olive oil mixture. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator overnight (or at least for 4 hours) for the flavors to marry.
- To serve, pour the entire mixture in a sauté pan and stir gently until the olive oil is liquid again (it solidifies in the refrigerator). The olives can be served warm or at room temperature.