This time of year, I start thinking about picnic snacking with al fresco nibbles that pair well with cheese, cured meats and a sliced baguette. Olives augmented with herbs are a given. The addition of garlic confit adds a welcome touch of sweetness to this olive combo.
To make garlic confit, peel cloves from 2 heads of garlic and place the garlic cloves and 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil in small saucepan. Place on low heat and cook until very soft, about 15 to 25 minutes. Cool. Remove garlic and refrigerate in airtight container until ready to use, up to 2 days; they can also be frozen. Refrigerate oil in a separate container up to 1 week; use leftover garlic or oil in vinaigrettes or with cooked vegetables, pasta or crostini.
Herb-Marinated Olives with Garlic Confit
Yield: About 4 cups
4 cups green olives, drained; see cook’s notes
1/2 bunch Italian parsley, washed, dried, coarsely chopped
6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked and finely chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
6 to 8 garlic cloves from garlic confit; see cook’s notes
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil from garlic confit
Optional: Meyer lemon; see cook’s notes
Cook’s notes: If I’m shopping for green olives at my local supermarket, I use two 6-ounce cans of Santa Barbara Olive Company medium-sized green olives or an equivalent amount of Castelvetrano green olives (I prefer the later unpitted, but the choice is yours). And if I have some tasty black olives on hand, I throw in some of those. Often, I also add small wedges of Meyer lemon. I cut a wide crosswise slice of the lemon and cut the slice into sixths or eighths.
1. Combine all ingredients in a nonreactive bowl; toss well. Cover tightly and refrigerate 1 to 2 days. Serve at room temperature.
Source: Adapted from “Martha’s Entertaining: A Year of Celebrations” by Martha Stewart (Clarkson Potter, $75)
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