My husband and I had a “Beat Them Winter Blues” party over the weekend, with about 25 or so guests. We’re thinking it might be the first of a string of annual winter blasts. We had just way too much fun, and of course we ate too much, but we went into it knowing full well we would, and we feel no shame whatsoever! Over the next several posts I’ll be sharing recipes from that night’s menu. We begin with — as my Greek YaYa would say — the Oliv-ess. These little beauties received deep moans and sighs of appreciation, so you might just want to try them yourself. The recipe is not my own, so it’s fine if I brag (right?) – I think they’re one of the tastiest plump little olive bites I’ve ever popped in my mouth. The recipe comes from Giada de Laurentiis’ Everyday Italian. Graci, Giada!
- 3 T. Olive oil
- 1 T. grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
- 1/2 t. dried crushed red pepper flakes
- 1-1/2 cups cracked green olives or other green olives – with their pits – (see NOTE)
- 1-1/2 cups Kalamata olives – with pits – (truly a combination of any olives you’re fond of will work here)
- 3 T. fresh lemon juice
- 2 T. chopped fresh basil
NOTE: About the olives. On this occasion I was unable to find cracked green olives, so chose the green olives with the least added herbs and spices, and then I rinsed them off and rolled them in paper towels before proceeding.
In a medium size, heavy skillet, warm the oil, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes over medium heat for about a minute, just until fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the olives. Add the fresh lemon juice and basil, and toss to coat. Transfer the olive mixture to a container, cover and refrigerate. Over the next 12 hours, stir from time to time, allowing the olives to soak up these lovely, bright Mediterranean flavors.
Before serving, allow the olives to return to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Put in a pretty little bowl and watch them fly out.
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