While meant as an appetizer, it would be hard to argue against a dinner of warm piquant olives, hot crusty bread, and a rich wine. Preserved lemons are readily found in Middle Eastern shops, but if they can’t be located, the zest of a lemon will suffice. The recipe calls for Picholines, but quite honestly there is no such thing as a wrong choice when it comes to olives.
1 cup Picholine olives
1/3 cup exceptional extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 small preserved lemon
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Cut the preserved lemon into quarters, discarding seeds. Slice crosswise into very thin strips, about 1/4” wide.
Toss all ingredients together in a bowl, cover, and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours – preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour olives, lemon, and marinade into a small crock and bake until warmed through, about 15 minutes.
Toss hot olives with chopped parsley and crushed red pepper. Serve immediately.
Suggested Wine Pairing: Old Vintage Riesling, Muscadet, or a Vermentino like Basile’s Arteteca (Golden Ram Imports)
Allison Robicelli is a James Beard-nominated writer, cookbook author, humorist, chef/owner of the highly-acclaimed Robicelli’s Bakery, occasional TV personality, raconteur, wife, mother, and all around good time.