thirsty thursday
cocktail nibbles: citrus spiced olives

It has arrived!

It's the season of celebrations. Football watch parties. Family get-togethers. Holiday soirees. And a cocktail party, or three, tucked in among the festivities. Your social calendar is likely filling up, and no proper guest need go empty-handed with a few of our Cocktail Nibbles in hand. 

First in this series, it was Gremolata & Olive Oil Roasted Edamame, designed to take the place of the ubiquitous, and, frankly, a tad bit boring, bowl of peanuts.

Today, we're nibbling without even the need for heat! Easy, and quick to pull together, these Citrus Spiced Olives take no more work than a little zesting, pouring, and sprinkling. All you need is a few ingredients, and a little imagination, and you've dressed-to-impress a perfectly solid, but a bit staid, member of the cocktail party cast, with your own refusal-to-be-average flair.

Well that's the easy part! The list of ingredients is limited only by your personal preference, and creativity!

Start with a bowlful of your favorite olives--we've used some very basic kalamata, ripe black, and Spanish green olives, but the next time we're in the big city, we'll pick up our favorites: oil-cured, Moroccan, and Nicoise olives from the bulk olive bins at the specialty market, to expand the selection we store just for such occasions.

We love the fresh zing citrus zest lends to the earthy fruit, and local orange, Meyer lemon, and key lime are the one's we most commonly rely upon. Tangerine, citron, and more exotic citruses all provide bright notes worth experimenting with, too.

Pull out your favorite spices and seasonings and play around with the pairings. Whole spices work best, and herbs, both dried and fresh, can be added by tucking in a stem, or crushing or mincing to release their oils. We sprinkle on just a pinch or two of crushed red pepper in almost every bowl we make, as an antidote to the luxurious headiness of a batch of these winsome beauties. Coarse kosher and sea salts complement oil-drizzled bowlsful perfectly, too.

Simply stream a little of your favorite best-quality olive oil over the little spiced and seasoned mounds of velvety jewels to keep them moist, both during serving, and storing. We like the rustic, buttery textures of Italian olive oils, but often branch out to sample the grassy, bright, green flavors of oils from France, Greece, Spain, and even Texas.

 Some ideas......

To a bowlful of pitted kalamata olives, add the juice of half, and the zest of a whole lemon, crushed dried thyme and rosemary, and a clove or two of finely slivered garlic.

We tossed these ripe black olives, leftover from a recent Spanish meal, with the zest of a a lime or two, szechuan peppercorns, and strewn with some quick-pickled onions, a condiment we can't seem to live without these days.

One of us round here, and I'm not mentioning any names, likes a martini on rare occasions. We snagged a few green olives from his the standard supply, added the juice and zest of one small orange, a sprinkle of crushed red pepper and whole coriander seed. We absconded with a few of the pickled garlic cloves someone was hiding on the cocktail cart and tucked them in for good measure.

Now that oughta get you started on your way to your own special magic bowl--just add your favorite olive oil to the mix of each batch, above, as well as your own, let it sit overnight for a well-and-proper marriage of flavors, then bring to room temperature before serving.  

Makes a nice host/hostess gift for the olive-lovers on your list, too!


  1. Love these as a stylish, not-unhealthy party nibble. One of my favorite tapas places in our old city had the best citrus olives ever -- a mix of green and kalamata with zest and spices (not quite sure what). Now I can try and replicate it!

    1. I'm so glad you enjoy olives, and can't wait to hear what you come up with, too. Thanks for dropping by!

  2. These are a great idea. I have a lot of fresh herbs still, and my hubby and I adore olives and citrus... Thanks..

    1. Hi Winnie! Hope you guys enjoy a great weekend, perhaps with an olive-strewn Happy Hour? lol Thanks for stopping by!

  3. My mouth is watering. I love olives!

    I'm currently working on getting my recipes in order and I found my appetizer category lacking. I think I just might add these there..


    1. Hey, Larissa--
      Thanks for dropping by! I confess I ate all of these olives all by myself. I'm making your beet salad this weekend, and I can't wait to surprise my husband with it. I hope you and yours have a great weekend, too!


Thank you for visiting Notes from Maggie's Farm. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...