the last days of 2019 are just flying by! seriously can't catch my breath much less think about elaborate holiday meals. by this point in the year (read, less than a week before christmas and less than two weeks left until the end of the year), everything food related has to be quick and easy. enter the most delicious and easiest appetizer there could be: citrus marinated olives with feta. these are perfect for gathering/grazing boards, a quick snack or as a holiday appetizer.
simple ingredient list:
this simple small dish packs some serious flavor with few ingredients. here's what you need:
- an assortment of olives
- good quality olive oil
- garlic cloves
- chili flakes and/or fresh thyme
- lemon and/or citrus peels
- good quality feta (spring for the one packed in the brine)
that's it. yep. that's really all you need. well, bread or crackers for dipping, but that's all you need for one of the most delicious treats you'll not be able to stop eating! when i made this for my family, it was gone in less than 10 minutes, which incidentally is as long as it takes to make!
tips and tricks
a few tips to help you make the most of these citrus marinated olives with feta
- use a variety of olives with pits
- this keeps the form of the olive intact while cooking
- make sure to pit the olives before serving OR
- tell people the pits are still in the olives
- for this recipe I used: kalamata, castelvetrano, cerignola and gaeta
- use a ripe and in season citrus
- roll the citrus on the counter a few times to activate the oils
- use a pairing knife to peel the citrus in wide strips
- taste test the olive oil before cooking with it
- this is a main ingredient so it goes without saying: you should like the taste of it!
- use a good feta packaged in the brine
- the flavor is much fuller
- full fat in the brine is best
- I love this one (sheep's milk feta is my favorite feta- salty and creamy)
- to adapt this recipe for individual servings (updated on 11/10/20 to reflect current pandemic)
- cold marinate the olives with feta in individual jars
- to cold marinate: place feta, mixture of olives, spices and at least one citrus peel per jar
- top with olive oil
- seal jars and marinate 24-48 hours before serving
- serve on individual plates with bread and/or crackers
- for more ideas on gathering during this time, check out this post
- please adhere to all state and local health guidelines on gatherings
don't forget dessert!
citrus marinated olives + feta
- medium sauce pan
- 8 oz assorted olives with the pits
- ¾ c olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3-4 lemon peels
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 2-3 sprigs thyme, optional
- 6 oz feta cheese (in the brine), corasely torn into chunks
- toasted bread or crackers for dipping
- Gently smash the olives. Combine olives, garlic, olive oil, citrus peels, and chili flakes or thyme in a medium sauce pan. Heat over medium heat for 7-8 minutes or until the edges of the garlic are golden. Olive mixture should also be very aromatic. Remove from heat and cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Place feta chunks in a serving bowl. Pour slightly cooled marinated olives over the feta. If less oil is desired, use a slotted spoon to do this. Serve with crusty bread or crackers and your preferred spirit.
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