Oh, olives. We eat olives ALL the time, before/with most meals. This recipe, given to me by a friend a long time ago, is our favorite (everyone we’ve served these to has loved them as well!). These are plain green olives called Castelvetrano, a Sicilian variety, slightly sweeter than the average olive. I think it’s the sweetness of the olive itself that makes this little recipe so good. Buy them unseasoned, which is, actually, the only way I’ve ever seen them for sale. This variety can be a little hard to find in stores, so when we see them, we grab them up, since we are perpetually running low and always seem to want more. We’ve also made this with more widely available Cerignola olives, also a green Italian variety, which are larger and paler and not as sweet (these are good, but not *quite* as good as the Castelvetranos, in my humble opinion).
Side note: I THINK these olives are the Castelvetrano variety, but it’s possible they may actually be called something else. In addition to sometimes being hard to find, they are also never labeled (at least in the stores I’ve seen them in) more specifically than green olives, or sometimes Italian olives. My apologies if they are actually some other variety!
The recipe is made to highlight the olives: toss them together with good olive oil, some sprigs of rosemary and thyme (I usually crush them a bit so they release fragrance but leave them whole), some smashed garlic cloves, and some red pepper flakes. That’s it! Leave them to marinate for a few hours (though you could eat them fairly quickly – the longer they marinate the better, but they’re good no matter what); shake the bowl a few times to release the flavor of the herbs and garlic.
Rosemary and Thyme sprigs
Red pepper flakes
Toss everything together and let sit for at least an hour or two.