As we approach the year-end’s festivities, busy foodies that entertain are always on the lookout for fuss-free and impressive hors d’oeurves that can be assembled at the last minute.
A bowl of warm olives scented with orange zest, fresh rosemary, garlic, chili and extra-virgin olive oil, is guaranteed to generate plenty of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ – and this certainly does.
I like Sicilian Castelvetrano olives for their mild, meaty quality and vibrant green color but a mixture of black and green olives will also look wonderful. They’ll need to be whole rather than pitted so serve with a small bowl on the side for the pits.
I buy them loose from the ‘olive bar’ section of Whole Foods or my local deli and you’ll need to drain off the liquid they float in before you scoop them into a container.
Increase or decrease the amount of garlic and dried chili flakes to taste. If you’re in a real hurry, rather than roasting them in the oven for 10 minutes you could nuke them in a microwave but be careful, because after about 12 seconds they’ll start to spit and bounce around in there, so nuke them in 5-second increments.
WARM ROASTED OLIVES with ROSEMARY, ORANGE, GARLIC & CHILI
(Makes 3 cups – 700ml)
3 cups (700ml) of assorted black and green whole olives, drained
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, broken into four bits
The thinly-pared zest of one large orange
¼ cup (60ml) of freshly squeezed orange juice
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and slightly flattened
¼ teaspoon of dried chili flakes
¼ cup (60ml) of extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 400F (200C).
Toss all the ingredients together to coat the olives well then spread them in a single layer in a heavy ovenproof skillet or shallow roasting pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes until warmed through and serve them immediately with all the juices and other bits.
They’re also wonderful served at room temperature so if you make them in advance or have leftovers, they’ll keep well in a sealed container in the fridge for about a week but bring them back to room temp before serving.