Spiced olives with chilli and garlic
ind a good Mediterranean food store or olive counter, and drive the staff mad by doing your own pick'n mix. Try to get a combination of big, fat black ones, small skinny green ones, shrunken dried ones, even Spanish anchovy-stuffed ones. Unstoned olives will always taste better than stoned - just put out another small bowl for the stones.
- 350 g mixed olives ( see note above)
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 small whole red chilli
- one quarter sweet red pepper (capsicum)
- 5 sprigs rosemary
- 5 sprigs thyme
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 1 tbsp grated orange or lemon zest
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- Combine all the olives in a bowl. Peel the garlic and finely shave into slices. Finely slice the chilli. Finely slice the red pepper.
- In a small saucepan, gently heat the olive oil with the garlic, chilli, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, grated orange or lemon zest, coriander and fennel seeds, then remove from the heat. You don't want to ‘fry' the oil, just infuse it with the warmed flavours of the aromatics.
- Toss the olives in the dressing, and leave to cool. You can make this a day or two ahead of time.