Monday, November 30, 2009

Moroccan-spiced olives

This is an easy way to jazz up jarred olives. They are nice as a little appetizer before dinner, especially if you're making other Mediterranean foods that night. Jon likes them even more than he likes garlic-stuffed olives, which is saying a lot. We often had olives spiced with fennel as an appetizer in France, but I got this particular spice blend from a Moroccan cookbook by Rebo Publishers. I omitted the garlic because I thought it would be too assertive and overpower the lovely spices.
Moroccan-spiced olives

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp whole fennel seeds
1 tsp whole coriander seeds
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups green olives
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp orange juice

Heat the olive oil, cumin, fennel, coriander, cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat for about two minutes. The spices should be quite fragrant. Remove the pan from heat, add olives, and toss to coat. Stir in the lemon juice and orange juice. Refrigerate in an airtight container (like the jar the olives came from in the first place) for at least four hours before serving to let the flavors meld. These are best if served room temperature. When you've eaten all the olives, Jon says the leftover spiced olive/citrus juice is a good dipping sauce for bread.

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