Like any kid who loved black olives, I routinely stuck them on the ends of my fingers and proceeded to suck the olives into my mouth one-by-one (“Look, Mom!”). Since then, I’ve grown to appreciate the more “grown-up” varietals of olives—briny Kalamatas, minuscule Picholines and many others whose names I do not know. One of my favorite ways to eat olives is warmed instead of cold out of the jar. If you’ve never had warm olives, try it. Warming the olives not only intensifies their flavor, but coats your mouth with olive in a lovely sort of way. This recipe specifies using certain olives varieties, but have fun using whatever kinds of olives you like.
½ cup Picholine olives
½ cup Moroccan olives
½ cup Niçoise olives
Leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1. Rinse the olives under cold water to remove any brine. Pat dry with paper towels.
2. Remove half of the orange’s zest in long strips with a zester. Remove half of the lemon’s zest.
3. In a bowl, toss the olives with the orange and lemon zests, thyme, garlic, and olive oil. Just before serving, heat the olives in a medium sauté pan over low heat just long enough to bring out their flavors and gently warm them. Serve in a dish or olive boat along with a small ramekin for discarded pits.
From the Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook: Recipes for Cooking Together (p58).