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Herb-Marinated Olives

July 2012

Serves 4-6
1 orange
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup Empeltre olives, or other cured black olives
1 cup Arbequina olives, or other small cured green olives
1 cup Manzanilla olives (large green olives also known as Spanish olives)
3 fresh thyme sprigs, broken up with your fingers
2 fresh rosemary sprigs, broken up with your fingers
1/2 teaspoon black pepper corns
1 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil, preferably an Arbequina variety
2 tablespoons Marcona almonds
1/3 pound Manchego cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
Sea salt to taste

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the orange, then squeeze the juice from the orange. Split open the garlic cloves by placing them on a chopping board and pressing down hard with the heel of your hand or the flat side of a kitchen knife. Put the garlic, olives, thyme, rosemary and peppercorns into a large mixing bowl and add the olive oil, orange juice and zest. Mix well. (You can also combine the olives, herbs, orange juice and zest and olive oil in a plastic container with a lid and simply shake.)
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate at room temperature for at least 4 hours or refrigerate overnight. The olives can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week. Be sure to allow the olives to come to room temperature before serving if you refrigerate. When you’re ready to serve, mix in the almonds and manchego cheese and garnish with coarse sea salt. 
Photograph by Powers & Crewe