12 September 2011

Herbed Olives

These are the perfect little accompaniment to an aperitif.  I was not always a fan of the briny, salty olive.  It took a summer holiday to Spain, Puerto Banus to be specific, to turn me on to to these briny, tart little morsels.  Something about sitting, poolside on a hot Mediterranean summer evening, Frank Sinatra singing in the back ground (we had limited CDs but Ole Blue Eyes was perfect), G&T  in hand as a pre dinner aperitif was magical, and olives were the perfect accompaniment.  Since then we have remained good friends, whether as an aperitif, in a Greek salad or stirred through a pasta puttanesca.

Herbed Olives inspired by Dorie Greenspan and Around My French Table

I adored the olives from Around My French Table as has everyone who has tasted them.  I think it is the warming of the olive oil and infusing it with all the wonderful herbs and spices that make these really quite special.  I now have a jarful on hand at all times.  They will keep for a couple of months and the left over oil is so full of flavour.  Whatever you do, don't throw it away! Dress salads or drizzle over fish or chicken before grilling.

This is my take on herbed olives, upping the anti on some of the spices that I like, a little more chilli as I like a little heat and the addition of some oregano.  I love the pungent, almost spicy and a little lemony flavour of oregano. Feel free to use what you have to hand, orange zest is also lovely and fresh chillies or maybe even a little preserved lemon could be a good addition for a little more of a fragrant Moroccan flavour.


2 cups olives
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp peppercorns
1/2 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1/2 tbsp oregano leaves
1 rosemary sprigs
1 thyme sprigs
1 oregano sprig
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
4 strips lemon zest
Salt and Pepper


Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, and once hot, add the coriander seeds, peppercorns and fennel seeds and toast for just a moment to release their aromas. Remove from the heat and set aside in small bowl.

Turn the heat down to low and pour in 1/2 a cup of olive oil and add all the other ingredients and the toasted seeds. Gently heat the oil to infuse it with all the flavours of the herbs and spices for a couple of minutes.  Add the olives to the frying pan and give everything a toss around to coat the olives in the infused oil, and all the herbs and spices.

Pour the olives in to a medium to large jar and top with more olive oil to completely cover the olives.  Close the jar and give it a shake to mix everything together.  Let the olives cool to room temperature and serve straight away if you can't wait.  Perfect on a summer afternoon with a G&T.  

However, if you have a little patience leave the olives in the fridge overnight or even for a week or 2 to allow the flavours to develop.  Just remove them from the the fridge an hour or so before serving.

You must try these.  Everyone who has sampled them has loved them.  They really are the best olives I have ever tasted and they will continue to make repeat appearances at the table.  So full of flavour, all the different flavours infused in the olive oil.

If you like this you might like this Yucatecan Guacamole
One year ago - Mediterranean Seafood



  1. These look so delicious! I'm definitely going to try making them this weekend. Any tips on the best olives to use and/or where to get them?

  2. @timeforalittlesomething.com Thanks, I used kalamata, as I just got them in the supermarket and can be reasonably sure they will have good flavour. But I do love those big Sicilian ones too :)

  3. I love olives in any form and pretty much eat them everyday ;-) Herby marinated ones are the best. Next year I'm going to have to get the courage to ask the people down the street if I can pick some off their laden (unpicked/wasted) trees so I can pickle my own... or talk Si into asking them! haha

  4. So glad to hear you and olives are friends now! Mmmm, I must make these olives today and I will try to have patience before trying them out. I'll have to hide them from my family!

  5. I love the spices used, I might try this with my next purchase of Sicilian olives...my favourites

  6. Oh, you're making me want to take off to Europe again now. In the meantime will have to ransack my herbs and spices and buy some olives :)

  7. I can't resist olives and these sound particularly tasty!

  8. @Emma Galloway Thanks Emma, you must would such a waste otherwise...almost rude not to really :)

  9. @Hannah Thanks Hannah, they are still pretty good even if you eat them straight away!

  10. @peasepudding Yum...love those big green Sicilian olives.

  11. @The Glasgow Cookery Book Thanks! They are really good & perfect for summer.

  12. @hungryandfrozen Thanks Laura, you & me both...Europe would be perfect right about now.

  13. @Maria Thanks Maria, they are :) Always have a jar on hand now.


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