Olive al forno is an impressive yet incredibly simple appetizer. Bathed in aromatic oil, a quick blitz in a searing hot oven transforms the flavor and texture of these olives. They’ll emerge slightly wrinkled and bubbly, ready to take center stage of your aperitivo spread. Combine the ingredients ahead of time and bake the olives just before you plan to serve. Don’t be put off by the addition of candied lemon peel, their sweetness is a pleasant contrast to the brininess of the olives!
TIME: 45 minutes
YIELD: 2 cups
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1/2 cup / 120ml + 1/4 cup / 60ml
- Head of garlic, 1
- Taggiasca Olives, 1/2 cup / 100g
- Castelvetrano Olives, 1/2 cup / 100g
- Green Bella di Cerignola Olives, 1/2 cup / 100g
- Black Bella di Cerignola Olives, 1/2 cup / 100g
- Preserved lemon or orange, 1 segment, finely sliced
- Peperoncini, 1 tsp or to taste
- Bay leaves, 2
- Rosemary, 2 sprigs
- Thyme, 2 sprigs
- (Optional) Make the garlic confit. Separate out the cloves from the head of garlic and place in a small bowl. Submerge in boiling water and leave to sit for one minute. Drain, then peel the cloves. Place the peeled cloves in your smallest saucepan and cover with 1/2 cup / 120ml extra virgin olive oil. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need more as the cloves need to be completely submerged in oil. Slowly heat over low, and gently cook until the cloves are soft and golden (about 30 minutes). Allow to cool in the oil.
- Preheat the oven to 500°F / 260°C
- Combine the olives, herbs, peperoncini, 1/4 cup / 60 ml olive oil and sliced lemon peel in a large bowl. Strain the confit garlic cloves and add to the olive mixture. You can add all the confit garlic cloves, or just a few if you like. Reserve the garlic infused oil for another use. Mix to combine.
- Pour the olive mixture into a shallow, oven proof dish and bake for 8-12 minutes, until bubbly. Serve warm straight from the baking dish, or pour into another bowl if you wish.