In Morocco, when you sit down to a meal, olives generally appear almost instantly. The olives may be plain but are just as often spiced or marinated. The marinade in this recipe boosts the already vivid flavor of good olives. If the olives are in brine, rinse them and pat them dry before using them in the recipe. If they are in oil, as is often the case at the “olive bars” at some grocers, you can use them as is, but drain them first.
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cups (just over a pound) green olives (with pits)
Combine the spices, herbs, garlic, and lemon juice in a bowl. Pour the olive oil in a steady stream, beating it into the spice blend. Toss the olives in this marinade. Put olives and marinade in clean jars, seal, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days before using. (Though not for more than 5 days.) Enjoy.
Use a good, fruity, extra virgin olive oil.
You can use whole or cracked olives.
If you have preserved lemons, chopping the skin of 1/2 a lemon and tossing it with the olives makes a nice addition to this recipe (makes it a bit more Moroccan)—but if you use preserved lemon, then leave the salt out of the marinade (the preserved lemons will add all the salt you need). Rinse the preserved lemon first, and discard the pulp (you just use the skin), chop, and add to the marinade before adding olives.