Citrus + Garlic Marinated Olives

Citrus + Garlic Marinated Olives hit the sweet spot of: looks gorgeous, tastes great, simple to throw together. That's the ideal trifecta when it comes to having people over for dinner! To make, you’ll quickly cook crushed Castelvetrano olives in extra virgin olive oil with citrus peels and smashed garlic.  When done, serve with crusty bread, crackers, or even on a cheeseboard. This appetizer is also fabulous spooned over some crumbled feta, as I have pictured here. Once you’ve enjoyed all of the olives in the bowl, save the leftover infused oil. The oil alone makes this recipe worth it. It’s briny, garlicky, citrusy, and delicious with a baguette.

You’ll notice I call for pitted and slightly crushed olives here.  Using pitted olives makes it simpler to serve this appetizer with bread so people can easily enjoy everything in one bite. I also like to gently crush the olives before adding them to the oil, which serves two purposes. One: it kind of flattens the olives, which prevents them from rolling all over the place when serving on bread. Two: gently crushing the olives creates more nooks and crannies for all of that infused oil. As far as citrus goes, I love using the peel from one navel orange and one Meyer lemon, but all orange peel or all lemon peel would be delicious. Be sure to check out the section beneath the recipe for tons of ways you can riff on this recipe.

Citrus + Garlic Marinated Olives

Citrus + Garlic Marinated Olives come together in 15 minutes with simple, flavor-packed ingredients. Make this when you have friends over for dinner and enjoy with crusty bread, cheese, or on a charcuterie board.

Prep:
5
min
cook:
10
min
total:
15
min
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Lemon Meyer lemon if you can find them!
  • 1 1/2 Cups drained and pitted Castelvetrano or other mild green olives (about 6.5 oz drained if you are going by weight at the store)
  • Optional: 3/4 teaspoons crushed red chili flakes Aleppo, or Marash Chili
  • Optional: 6 Ounces crumbled feta from the brine goat cheese, or Manchego cheese
  • Baguette slices for serving

Instructions
  1. Smash four garlic cloves on cutting board until peels come off and each clove breaks into smaller pieces.
  2. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from one orange and one lemon into large strips, being mindful not to peel off too much of the white pith. Save the peels for this recipe, and also save the whole citrus, as you may want to brighten the dish up at the end with fresh citrus juice.
  3. Gently crush olives with knife or back of hand on cutting board, and set aside.
  4. Gently heat olive oil in small skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat, and add crushed garlic. Stir occasionally. Add crushed chili flakes if using. Once garlic has started to sizzle and some of the edges turn golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to low, add crushed olives and citrus peels to the skillet, and let simmer for about 5 more minutes. Turn off heat and let mixture sit for anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour before serving.
  6. If serving over cheese, break up feta, goat, or Manchego cheese into serving bowl. Transfer entire marinated olive mixture over crumbled cheese (or straight into serving bowl if making without cheese).
  7. Finish with fresh citrus juice if desired, and serve with baguette.

Let's riff
  • The Citrus: I love the combination of orange and Meyer lemon here. The peels from two oranges, two lemons, or even two grapefruits would work well here, too! I wouldn’t use limes in this particular recipe, but any other citrus is fair game.
  • The Olives: Any mild green olive works. Get olives in a brine from the deli section of the grocery store if possible, as they are more flavorful and fresh. If using jarred olives, up the spice factor for a bolder flavor. More on that below!
  • The Spice: Have a specialty spice blend you love? Throw in a few pinches into the olive oil with the garlic. This will help bloom the spices and bring out their flavor. I’ve tried this recipe with the Bombay Orange blend from Oak Town Spice and it was pretty out-of-this-world delicious. If you can’t get your hands on this exact blend, it has: Orange Zest, Aleppo Chile, Minced Green Onion, Coriander and Fennel – any of these spices on their own would be a great addition!
  • The Cheese: Serving this dish over crumbled cheese is optional! If you are vegan or dairy-free, simply omit this step. I love feta that comes in a block in the brine or goat cheese.
  • The Herbs: Add a sprig of fresh herbs when the oil is still warm, but not sizzling hot (this can create an acrid or bitter flavor). I love fresh oregano, rosemary, or marjoram.

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Hilario Druitt
April 17, 2024
Tilly Killough
April 16, 2024
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April 13, 2024
Alvin Goold
April 7, 2024
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April 6, 2024
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April 5, 2024
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April 4, 2024
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March 31, 2024
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March 28, 2024
Sherman Cruz
March 25, 2024
Ludie Key
March 23, 2024
Gini
March 20, 2024
Loved the soup. Croutons too much trouble. Fast in a cup!
Ray Beall
March 16, 2024
Richard
February 22, 2024
send me fruits to add with another fruit to cure disease
Deneen Medland
April 17, 2023
Kelle Trouton
April 17, 2023
Caroline
January 23, 2023
I made this same amazing salad with the following additions: I used a bed of chopped romaine hearts, and squeezed the juice of all the trimmed cara cara oranges, plus 1/2 lemon, added a drizzled of Tupelo honey on top. The herbs: chopped fennel fronds and mint. Everyone went crazy for it!
Marcus
YUM! Definitely going to pair this with a nice and funky natty white next time!
Caroline
January 23, 2023
I made this same amazing salad with the following additions: I used a bed of chopped romaine hearts, and squeezed the juice of all the trimmed cara cara oranges, plus 1/2 lemon, added a drizzled of Tupelo honey on top. The herbs: chopped fennel fronds and mint. Everyone went crazy for it!