I tend to serve way too many appetizers when we have guests for dinner. I remember a Barefoot Contessa show where she said to only serve 2-3 starters and her examples were really simple. A little cheese and crackers, some olives, maybe some mixed nuts… to me it didn’t seem like enough. We recently had 16 guests for dinner and in usual form I had lots of things to nibble on before dinner. With that many people I think you need to offer an assortment and this time I think my quantities we pretty good. My gauge is whether they eat their dinner… too many starters equals no room for the main course. I made these marinated olives as part of my spread and everyone enjoyed them. It’s an easy recipe that you need to make the day before. That’s one less thing for you to do the day your guests arrive. They look beautiful, too!
- 4 cups of mixed olives (nicoise, kalamata, greek olives – you pick, just make sure they aren’t already seasoned)
- 10 strips lemon peel from one lemon (removed using vegetable peeler)
- Juice of one lemon (about 1/4 cup)
- 2 long sprigs fresh rosemary cut in half
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 bay leaves
- 3 large cloves garlic – sliced
- Red pepper flakes – a healthy pinch
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Fresh cracked pepper – very coarse ground
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and toss together. Put in the refrigerator overnight to marinate. I find it’s helpful to put them in a container with a lid so you can periodically shake the container around. Serve in a pretty dish. Delicious when served alone, with cheese and crackers or even as part of a Greek meal.
* You could easily cut this recipe in half. It makes a fairly large quantity… nice for a holiday party.