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Warm Marinated Olives, Capers + Garlic

Warm marinated olives, garlic + capers with fresh herbs. Heat brings out the flavor in this Spanish-inspired recipe!

Kristina Todini, RDN

Ben vuneto, bem vindo, welcome! I’m a dietitian nutritionist with a serious case of wanderlust. When I’m not exploring the world I love to explore in the kitchen with new ingredients and flavors from around the world.

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Warm marinated olives, garlic + capers with fresh herbs. Heat brings out rich complex flavors in this Spanish-inspired recipe!

Warm marinated olives, garlic + capers with fresh herbs. Heat brings out the flavor in this Spanish-inspired recipe!

Let me just preface by saying I have not always love olives. In fact, I downright hated them until well past the age thought to be a proper adult (I spent years as an early adult not really acting like one).

Growing up in the American Midwest my experience with olives was limited to sliced tasteless black olives that came in a can. You can see why this was not an appealing ingredients throughout my formative years, however when I came of age one thing changed my tune toward olives….

The dirty martini.

Yes, it was the dirty martini that allowed me to appreciate the salty complexity of olives and their juice and I will fully admit it. Once I became open to the flavorful little fruits there was no stopping me. Olives on pizza, olives on sandwiches, olive tapenade, olives baked in bread, olives just plain eaten from a jar…I love them.

When I first married Francesco (the Italian husband) and spent a summer in Italy with his family one of my favorite things to do was help his mother in the kitchen. We often prepared a simple platter of olives from trees in their yard, which I loved. And they thought nothing of.

The ancient twisted beauty of the olive tree.

One thing I love to do when featuring a recipe here on Fork in the Road is to provide a background on ingredients and their history. It never fails that I learn something new and interesting, but I think olive trees take the proverbial cake on kick ass history with this fun fact:

Olive trees routinely live for centuries, with the oldest known living olive tree is 3000 years old on the island of Crete.

It is believed the first trees to produce an olive fruit rich in oil were along the Mediterranean, in what is now Syria and Crete. Where olive trees were first domesticated is unknown, but olive oil has been an integral part of Mediterranean diets for thousands of years. In fact, it can be argued that olive oil is the foundation of the traditional Mediterranean Diet, which is one of the healthiest and most sustainable eating patterns.

Warm marinated olives, garlic + capers with fresh herbs. Heat brings out the flavor in this Spanish-inspired recipe!

Warm marinated olives: endless flavor possibilities.

As with most of my recipes, nothing in the ingredient list is set in stone. Everything can (and should!) be an experiment, to determine your own tastes and to test and retest recipes to make them your own. One of my favorite warm marinated olives combinations is listed in the recipe below, but here are a few recipe variation ideas to play with:

  • Types of olives: cerignola, nyon, niçoise, liguria, manzanilla, beldi, kalamata (my favorite)
  • “Extras”: capers, caperberries, sliced garlic, sun dried tomatoes, pearl onions
  • Herbs & Flavors: parsley, dill, basil, oregano, thyme, lemon, balsamic vinegar

Warm marinated olives, garlic + capers with fresh herbs. Heat brings out the flavor in this Spanish-inspired recipe!

Kitchen tool recommendations

Warm marinated olives is such a simple recipe that it requires no more than a small pan. However, I have found a small ceramic bowl I scored in a market in Korea to be the perfect cooking pot that also doubles as a serving dish. The ceramic pot can be placed right on the stovetop burner and then transferred to a heat safe holder. This way the olive mixture will stay warm on the table, which is perfect for when you are serving guests.

Below are similar ceramic stovetop dishes to the one pictured in this recipe and a few ingredient recommendations that would work well with this dish:

  • Ceramic earthenware pot: this pot is very similar to the one I picked up in the Korean market and is perfect for soups and other warm dishes
  • 8″ earthenware pot: this model is a bit bigger, however it does not come with a heat safe plate
  • Castelvetrano olives: one of my favorite varieties, would work great in this recipe

Print
Warm marinated olives, garlic + capers with fresh herbs. Heat brings out the flavor in this Spanish-inspired recipe!

Warm Marinated Olives, Capers + Garlic


  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 serving (2 cups)
  • Category: Appetizers & Platters
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Description

Warm marinated olives, garlic + capers with fresh herbs. Heat brings out rich complex flavors in this Spanish-inspired recipe!


Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups assorted olives
  • 2 gloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/8 cup fresh dill
  • 1/8 cup fresh parsley
  • pinch salt and salt
  • red pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a hot pot or small pan over medium-low heatl.
  2. Add olives, capers, garlic, olive oil, herbs, salt, pepper and red pepper and heat about 5 minutes, or until olives are warm and herbs have wilted.
  3. Serve immediately while still warm.

Notes

Nutrition facts: Olives are high in healthy monounsaturated fats and are an important part of the Mediterranean Diet, named one of the most sustainable eating patterns!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 185
Warm marinated olives, garlic + capers with fresh herbs. Heat brings out the flavor in this Spanish-inspired recipe!
Kristina Todini

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Minimalist. Sustainable nutrition junkie. Wannabe nomad. Eating the world, one plate at a time.

  1. Jen says:

    Ahh, so that explains why I hate black olives so much! I also grew up in the midwest and those gross things were always in a little divided crystal dish along with green olives at the various holiday and family get-together tables. I like your version much better! Going to keep this for a holiday table replacement and I am sure it will be highly appreciated.

    1. I know, I always hated the tasteless black olives! But the dirty martini changed my mind. 🙂 This recipe is so simple but it looks like you spent much longer on it than you really do, which is usually my overall goal when cooking. Let me know how it goes and thanks for stopping by!

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