If you are looking to make a quick and simple holiday appetizer, look no further than this recipe for Citrus Marinated Olives. I like to serve these olives year-round, but I always bring them out for the holiday season. They are the perfect little salty and briny bite that works perfectly with antipasto platters, or just on their own! Plus, they’re super easy to make!
I like to use two types of olives in this recipe: Cerignola and Kalamata. Cerignola olives are from Cerignola, Italy and are actually DOP/PDO protected, meaning that this type of olive is only from this specific area or region and nowhere else in the world. The Cerignola is my absolute favourite olive since they are not too briny and are full of rich, buttery meat. They are quite a large olive too, which make them perfect for eating. Also, not only do they come in green, they also come in red (with the help of food dye) and black which is perfect for fancy get-togethers and celebrations.
You will see this symbol on packages that are certified DOP/PDO protected.
Kalamata olives on the other hand are from Kalamata/ the Peloponnese region in Greece. These olives too are DOP/PDO protected. The Kalamata is a very versatile olive that you have probably had before in Greek salads or on authentic pizza. They are much more salty and briny, but still have a nice dark skin and buttery meat.
The Cerignola and Kalamata olives balance each other perfectly in this appetizer, and they both get an uplift from fresh citrus peel and herbs in my marinade. I begin my marinade with some lemon and orange peel. I use a vegetable peeler to shave off a nice piece of the citrus skins (coloured part only, no white pith) and slice the skins up into little matchsticks using a sharp knife. I also add in some fresh rosemary and oregano leaves as well as some finely chopped garlic, ground black pepper and some red chili flakes. The chili flakes give the olives a bit of heat but does not make them too spicy. You don’t need any salt in this recipe since the olives are salty enough already!
I then cover the olives, citrus, herbs and spices with a generous amount of olive oil- enough to fully cover and submerge them- and then place them in the refrigerator for at least two days to marinate. I always use extra virgin olive oil when making these (and also basically for everyday cooking) since it is the best olive oil out there. This really isn’t the time to break out the expensive stuff- you just want something that you really enjoy.
You can keep these olives for quite a long time as long as they are covered in olive oil and just pull them out as you need them. But trust me- these guys won’t last long! I also keep the leftover marinade to drizzle over pasta, pizza or to add to some homemade focaccia (mmm…this recipe needs to be up here soon!). The marinade gives a subtle olive and citrus flavour that takes any recipe to the next level.
Let me know in the comments below if these Citrus Marinated Olives will be on your table this holiday season! Also let me know which olives are your absolute favourite, or if you don’t like olives at all!