Citrus-Spiced Olives | Recipe | Quick & Easy

I often think of my old apartment in Manhattan and the fun I had there.  I lived in a 750-square foot, one-bedroom apartment, which by NYC standards, is like a palace.  It had a spacious living room, perfect for entertaining, and I often had friends and family over for get-togethers.  It was also an apartment where people would regularly crash.  I can't tell you home many guests I had rotating in and out of my door - both those who lived far and those who didn't want to take the train back to Brooklyn.  I had an open door policy where drop-ins were always welcomed.  It was a hostess's dream come true.

One of the first parties I held in my apartment was a house-warming party where I hosted a dinner for 20 of my family members and closest friends.  That night was one of my happiest nights in my apartment, being surrounded by laughter, those I loved, good food and over-flowing wine. 

My mom had come the night before to bring some folding chairs and help me set up.  She stayed a little longer to lend a hand in the kitchen.  She asked if I would mind if she tried a new olive recipe she had recently seen on tv.  With a peel, a shake and stir, she whipped up the most beautiful bowl of olives I had ever seen!

These olives have become one of my a favorite hors d'ouevres.  They look pretty, taste wonderful at room temperature and are phenomenal when warm.  I find that small to medium sized zest strips are prettiest.  And don't be so quick to throw them out!  The zests become soft and savory, and are a treat in themselves.

Citrus-Spiced Olives Recipe
Yields: approx 2 c

3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 bay leaves
1 large spring fresh rosemary
zest of 1 lemon, peeled into strips using a vegetable peeler
zest of 1 orange, peeled into strips using a vegetable peeler
12 oz mixed olives of varying colors

1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over Medium-High heat.  Add garlic through citrus zests in a medium skillet, stirring occassionally until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
2. Add olives and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zest begins to curl, about 5 minutes.
3. Remove and discard the bay leaves.  Transfer to bowl.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source: adapted from the Food Network