Everyone loves marinated olives, and it’s not hard to make up a batch yourself rather than buying them pre-marinated. To my mind, garlic, herbs and some kind of citrus zest are essential. Red pepper flakes are optional. In this recipe, I infuse a little bit of olive oil with the garlic and zest so that the oil can carry the flavors around and coat the olives. And I use tangerine zest and juice along with fresh thyme to replace the expected lemon and rosemary combo.

Ideally, marinate your olives several hours or a few days before you plan to serve them and store them in a glass jar. But in a pinch, you can of course make them at the last minute, too. Feel free to up the amount of garlic or zest if you like. I’ve chosen to use pitted kalamata olives here, but you can use this marinated on any olives.

Makes 1 ½ cups

  • 1 ½ cups pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • Zest of one small tangerine (a generous ½ teaspoon), more if you like
  • 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Juice of one small tangerine (3 tablespoons), more if you like
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lightly chopped fresh thyme leaves

1. Put olives in a small mixing bowl.

2. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, bring to a simmer, and cook for 30 seconds. (Don’t let the garlic brown.) Stir in tangerine zest and red pepper flakes (if using) and remove from heat. Let sit for a few seconds, then stir and scrape the infused oil (and all the bits) into the bowl with the olives. Stir to coat the olives and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Add the tangerine juice, balsamic vinegar and thyme. Stir well. Let sit for another 15 to 20 minutes before serving or refrigerating.