Friday, September 25, 2009

Mediterranean Spiced Olives

For centuries olives have been celebrated by many cultures. Either cooked in recipes or eaten as a snack - olives are a great source of monounsaturated fat and a good source of iron, vitamin E, copper and dietary fiber. A one cup serving contains about 155 calories.

Here is an easy way to spice up store bought olives by adding flavors of the mediterranean.

Mediterranean Spiced Olives

For the olives:

1 cup mixed olives
6 thin round slices lemon
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon herbs of Provence
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole mixed peppercorns
4 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

To assemble:

Place 3 of the lemon slices in a 2 cup glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Add the olives, fennel seeds, herbs of Provence, bay leaf, peppercorns, garlic, red pepper flakes and the remaining 3 lemon slices. Slowly pour in the olive oil making sure to completely cover all the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 2 weeks.

To serve:

Bring to room temperature and serve with cheese and crusty bread.

The leftover oil is wonderful used in a vinaigrette for salads, drizzled over poached fish or tossed with steamed vegetables.