EZ Roasted Olives (Thanks, Costco)
This EZ party appetizer was the hit of the Labor Day wine club party. Roasting really mellows the astringency/bitterness of olives. This makes A LOT of olives, but you will find that they all manage to disappear.
1 21-ounce jar of stuffed queen olives (Costco sells these in 2 packs)
2 C. Kalamata Olives (I ALWAYS have the big Costco jar in my kitchen)
2 T. Chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 C. Olive Oil (yep, I use the big Costco bottle – you want good olive oil, but it doesn’t have to be artisan/expensive)
1 bulb of garlic (*see note below), cloves separated and peeled in whichever way you find fun (I like the smash-em-good-with-the-flat-of-your-knife-method)
4 cranks of freshly ground pepper (let’s call it 1/4 teaspoon)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Pour the big jar of olives and the 2 C of Kalamata olives into a strainer to drain, pat them dry with paper towels. Put them into a large baking dish or roasting pan. You want them in a single layer if possible. Sprinkle the chopped rosemary on top of the olives. Use your microplane grater to grate the lemon peel over the olives (don’t have a microplane grater – YIKES they are the best kitchen tool ever!). Halve the lemons and squeeze the lemon juice over the olives. Scatter the whole garlic cloves among the olives*. Drizzle the olive oil over the top. Sprinkle the pepper. Mix it with a spoon to make sure the olives are coated with olive oil.
Place the baking dish in the oven and let the olives roast for about 30 – 40 minutes (oooohhhhh, your house is going to smell good). Stir the olives a few times to make sure they cook evenly. You can tell you are there when the olives soften and wrinkle a bit and the garlic is a bit golden/brown around the edges. Roasting really tames the astringency/bitterness in the olives and makes the flavors sooooooo mellow. This makes A LOT of olives. The good news is that they will hold for a week in the fridge. Great all by themselves or make a salad plate with a couple of slices of goat cheese, a few olives and a couple of thin slices of baquette. Be aware that these things are addictive.
NOTE: When I made these in the tasting room for our pick up party, I actually used an amazing product called Majestic Garlic, Raw Pickled Garlic with Cayenne instead of fresh garlic cloves. This is a great raw foods product that someone gifts us with. I think you can get it at Whole Foods or other gourmet specialty markets. If you find this, use 1/2 jar, drain them before adding to the olives and omit the black pepper.
You’ve gotta love any recipe that is drain, stir, bake, stir, eat.