Warm Olives with Citrus and Herbs

white bowl of green olives with citrus peels and herbs

These tiny olives pack a mighty punch at cocktail hour. 

By Erin Henderson

I recently went on a Julia Child bender, absorbing her entertaining ethos with a fascination normally only seen in  archaeologists unearthing an ancient tomb. One of the more interesting points I uncovered was the simplicity in which Julia hosted apéro and before dinner drinks. A glass of champagne, a bowl of Goldfish Crackers (seriously) and that was cocktail hour. 

A cornerstone of my gatherings is a bowl of olives.

Simple, humble, and beloved, these briny, savoury gems quietly prop up the other superstars of cocktail hour. Sure, people flock to the cheeseboard. They scoop up the dips. But, like any solid supporting cast member, the buffet would be set adrift if not for this tiny, but mighty anchor.

My perfect cocktail hour snack is a casual combo of gougères, a wedge of cheese, and these marinated olives. Here's how you make them. 

Warm Olives with Citrus and Herbs

Kept in the fridge, these olives can last for a week or two if properly sealed. To liquify the oil again, simply bring out of the fridge an hour before serving, or gently rewarm over low heat for a few minutes. The oil also works beautifully in salad dressings and on pastas. 

Yield: about 1/2 a litre

Chef Level: Beginner

  • 1, 600 g jar of plain olives, drained (I use Castelvetrano)
  • 1-2 jalapeño, to taste, thickly sliced
  • 1-2 shallots, thickly sliced 
  • 2 tsp whole fennel seeds
  • 1 short sprig of rosemary (thyme and oregano work well too)
  • Good pinch of salt
  • A few strips of lemon peel
  • A few strips of orange peel
  • A few cups of olive oil
How to Make It:
  1. In a wide, deep sauté pan set over medium-low heat, add the oil and all ingredients except the olives.
  2. Allow the oil to warm gently, steeping flavours for about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Carefully add in the olives stirring to combine. Most of the olives should be at least partially submerged.
  4. Warm for another 10-15 minutes.
  5. Serve with crusty bread.
Wine Pairings

For a can’t miss, slam-dunk pairing just look to the Spanish (the largest producer of olives in the world.)

Dry Vermouth and fino Sherry both have that salty, briny, citrusy note that is echoed in the fruit. And of course, a Vermouth-laced Vesper martini is a dynamite pairing.

As for wine, go for Spain’s citrusy Albariño or earthy Rioja.


Hear From Real People!

Our guests had a great evening and Erin made sure that everyone (even non-drinkers) enjoyed themselves! Thanks for making the bridal shower so memorable!
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Thank you so much for everything I will definitely use your services again.
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I had the pleasure of attending the Oceania Cruise event where you conducted a wine pairing. I have to say that your wine and food pairing made a typically ho hum travel information night, spectacular! I have never done a wine pairing. I was amazed at how food interacted with the wines.
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