I am somewhat of an olive fiend. They are a constant element of my antipasto plates and salads. I’ve tried many recipes for marinated olives, but this one from Jean Georges Vongerichten really stands out. His simple technique uses toasted fennel, fresh orange peel, and crushed red chile flakes to make an infused oil full of depth and flavor. And it does this with only four ingredients. The sweetness of orange and anise counteract the brine from the olives, and every so often, you get a nice crunch from the toasted fennel seeds.
Orange and Fennel Marinated Olives
makes 1 1/2 cups
1 1/2 cups Lucques olives (or other brine-cured green olives, or mix with Kalamatas)
3/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/8 tsp crushed red chile flakes
4 (4-inch) strips of orange zest (removed with a vegetable peeler)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1. Rinse olives under cool water and drain well.
2. In a dry skillet, toast the fennel seeds over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chile flakes and toast for another 30 seconds. Remove from heat and add the oil and orange peel. Steep until cool.
3. Pour the oil mixture over the olives. Cover and marinate at room temperature for at least 6 hours, or refrigerate for up to 5 days.