a few springs of fresh oregano, thyme, or Italian parsley
If the green olives you’re using were sold in brine, drain and rinse under cold running water. Transfer to a bowl, then cover with fresh water and leave to rest for 1 hour, changing the water twice. This step will eliminate the briny flavor and make the olives more receptive to soak in new flavors.
Zest the orange in wide strips using a vegetable peeler. Juice the orange, straining pits, if any. Repeat these steps to prepare the lemon. Chop the zests into thin strips.
Transfer the citrus zest and juice to a medium saucepan. If the olives were soaking, drain, pat dry, and add to the saucepan, along with the olive oil, garlic, black pepper or red pepper flakes. Warm over low heat for 10 minutes to release the flavors, closely watching over the pan to prevent the mixture from boiling.
Remove from the heat and mix the fresh herb sprigs. Transfer the olives and the marinade to an airtight glass jar and let the flavors infuse at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
SERVING: Olive oil solidifies when cold. Spoon the olives and some of the marinade back to a saucepan and warm up over low heat. You can also warm up the olives in the microwave at a low power setting. Transfer the olives to a serving dish and, if desired, serve with fresh bread to soak up that delicious marinade.
STORAGE: Store the olives in an airtight container at the back of the fridge. The olives will keep almost indefinitely—but they’ll be at their best if you enjoy them within 1 month.
CLEVER TIPSPolished off all your marinated olives already? You can reuse the flavorful marinade to make a fresh batch: return the marinade to a saucepan, fish out the wilted herb sprigs, and repeat the warming process with fresh olives. Mix in fresh herbs, transfer to a clean jar, and top up with more extra-virgin olive oil to cover, if needed. Gently shake the jar to combine and store as indicated.Once you’ve enjoyed all the olives in this second batch, strain the olive oil—which is by now packed with flavor—and use it to dress a salad or pasta.
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