Moroccan Spiced Olives

recipe image

  • Total Time

    1 day (includes marinating)

An easy marinade of garlic, lemon, thyme, and a dollop of the North African hot sauce harissa make these green olives memorable. If you can, prepare the olives ahead—they improve with age.


Makes about 2 cups

2 cups green olives (with pits) in brine (10 ounces), such as picholine or Cerignola, lightly smashed to crack open slightly

4 garlic cloves, sliced

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons tomato paste

1/3 cup water

2 teaspoons harissa (North African spice paste)

3 (4-to 5-inch) thyme sprigs

2 thin lemon slices

  1. Step 1

    Cover olives with water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then drain.

    Step 2

    Cook garlic in oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until garlic is golden, about 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in water, harissa, thyme, and olives and simmer briskly, stirring occasionally, until liquid is thickened and coats olives, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon slices. Transfer to a shallow dish and marinate, chilled, at least 24 hours.

  2. What to drink:

    Step 3

    Yarden Galilee

    Cabernet Sauvignon ’05

Cooks’ note:

Olives keep, chilled in an airtight container, 1 month.

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