24 May

Marinated Picholine Olives

Marinated Picholine Olives can be served warm or at room temperature, but the flavor is brighter and the texture more tender when they’re warm.

Active time: 20 min Start to finish: 24 1/2 hr (includes marinating)

2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white-wine vinegar
1 large shallot, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon whole allspice, lightly crushed with flat side of a large heavy knife
1 teaspoon whole pink peppercorns, lightly crushed
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
2 (3- by 1-inch) strips fresh lemon zest
2 (4- by 1-inch) strips fresh orange zest
2 cups whole picholine or other brine-cured small green olives (3/4 lb)

Cook garlic in 2 tablespoons oil in a small heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until pale golden, about 30 seconds. Transfer garlic with a slotted spoon to a small bowl and reserve oil separately (to prevent garlic from continuing to brown in hot oil).

Simmer 1/4 cup vinegar with shallot and brown sugar in a 1-quart heavy saucepan, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about 1 tablespoon, about 4 minutes.

Add garlic, garlic oil, remaining 1/2 cup olive oil, remaining 1/4 cup vinegar, spices, bay leaves, zests, and olives and bring to a simmer. Transfer mixture to a bowl and cool to warm. Marinate olives, covered and chilled, at least 24 hours.

If desired, reheat in saucepan over low heat, stirring until warm. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a serving dish.

Cooks’ note:
Olives can marinate up to 5 days.