Whether for your own home or as a gift when you visit someone else’s, consider making an olive mix recipe.
Healthful and versatile, olive mixes stay in the fridge for months, ready to grab and serve with beer, red and white wine, and martinis and other cocktails.
You can also use the olives as part of an antipasto, add them to salads and omelets, and spoon them onto dishes of pasta, slices of pizza and whatever else inspires you.
To turn your mix into a gift, just create a label from a free template, or use pinking shears to cut a circle from a scrap of cloth and tie it with a ribbon or string over the top of a recycled plastic or glass container.
A mix of cured olives and almonds with lemon zest. Photo courtesy A.G. Ferrari.
OLIVE MIX RECIPE
Follow these simple steps to create a great olive mix:
Select your olives. A mix of three different colors and sizes has more eye- and palate-appeal than a single variety. Think of bright green Castelvetrano, handsome red Cerignola (in this version, the naturally bright green Cerignola olives are dyed red), dark aubergine Kalamata, black and wrinkled Gaeta or classic black Liguria. You can also choose a stuffed olive to add a touch of almond, anchovy, caper, cheese, jalapeño or onion.
Cheese. If you can’t find good cheese-stuffed olives (we prefer the Mezzetta brand), add cubes of cheese.
Choose a fresh herb. Fennel, garlic, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme are favorites.
Add a second seasoning. We love lemon or orange zest or a fine julienne of the peel.
Add some heat. If you like things hot, add some minced jalapeños (remove the seeds and ribs for less heat, or use red pepper flakes).
Consider “mix-ins.” Whole almonds are a terrific pairing, as are cocktail onions, gherkins and fresh grape tomatoes.
Pick your marinade. The final step is to dress the mix. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the mix. Add some acid as well: balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar or verjus. Each gives a very distinctive personality to the marinade. (But you’re not making vinaigrette, so use a 6:1 or greater ratio of oil to vinegar.)
Finishing touch. Consider adding a splash of vodka or gin—a subtle nuance.
Blend well and serve. You can heat the mix in the microwave for 10 seconds or more to add an appealing warmth.
HOW TO SERVE YOUR OLIVE MIX
A bowl of olives is fine by itself, but olives are also a popular part of an antipasto, served with:
Cheese. Olives pair best with Italian and Greek cheeses. Think Asiago, feta, mozzarella, provolone, scamorza.
Cured meats. Add some dried Italian sausage or salami.
Bread. Finish with sliced crusty breads and breadsticks.
It’s a feast!