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Quick & Easy Appetizer | Briny Olives with Garlic & Tomatoes

Thanksgiving is just around the corner y'all!

And I'm a big believer in keeping things real simple before the BIG meal. What's the point on getting folks stuffed so they can't enjoy all the dishes we've been slaving over for days!

These make-ahead olives are lovely. Some crusty bread and cheese and nuts and that's all you need.

Not to mention, they are all dressed up so they make a statement too.

When I asked one of my friends to try some of my olive on some crusty bread with a drizzle of E.V. she promptly said that she thought all olives came from the grocery market in the tubs at the deli.

I for one turned a shade pale, no doubt but then asked her to stop talking and take a bite. She loved these olives. Now I can't help it if you hate olives. An olive is still going to be an olive.

I am addressing those folks who don't expect a transmutation of the fruit and yet expect something good fantastic! This is one of my favorite potluck/dinner party ways to serve olives. First you start off with briny olives. And since unlike the Europeans most peeps have an issue with spitting the pits all over the room, I suggest you begin with pitted.

You then need to take 30 minutes and fix a large batch of basic tomato sauce but if you're going to cheat and use store-bought, make it good like Rao's. Though, let's face it, every kitchen should have a recipe for basic staple tomato sauce a.k.a marinara.

The olives are sautéed in olive oil, garlic, tossed with some Marinara - just enough to coat, not bury and then fuggedaboutit!

Serve a few days later, at room temperature with crust bread, some Parmigiano Reggiano, some vino and life is looking good.

How's that for a stress-free holiday appetizer?



Recipe for:

Briny Olives with Garlic & Tomatoes

Makes approx. 3-1/2 cups

Shopping list:

1 qty 15 oz. can Black pitted olives in brine

1-1/4 cup green olives in brine like Manzanilla

1/4 cup E.V. Olive oil

3 garlic cloves, peeled

1 cup basic tomato sauce (recipe below) or good quality store-bought marinara sauce (like Rao's)

1 tsp sugar

1/3 cup packed parsley leaves


Garlic: Finely chop and set aside

Olives: Drain away the liquids and remove to a bowl.

Parsley: Finely chop and set aside.


In a medium sauté pan, heat oil on medium-high heat. Once hot and you see ripples in the oil, add the garlic. As soon as it sizzles, add the olives and sauté for about 3-4 minutes.

Add 1 cup of the basic tomato sauce and sauté for a minute or so. Cover with a tight fitting lid and on medium-low heat, cook for  about 15 minutes.

Stir once or twice to prevent sticking at the bottom. Add the sugar and stir.

Top with chopped parsley. Allow to cool completely before serving at room temperature with cheese or as part of an antipasti platter.

I serve thin on subs and salads too. A great little zinger to have in the refrigerator on hand.


Recipe for

Basic Tomato Sauce

Makes approx. 4 cups

Shopping list

1 medium Spanish red onion

3 qty 15 oz. cans (good quality) Organic diced tomatoes

1/3 cup olive oil

5 garlic cloves, peeled

1 small carrot

Marjoram or Oregano sprigs (to yield 3 tbsp. leaves)

½ tbsp. salt


Onions: Peel, discard skin and ends. Chop into ¼” pieces.

Garlic: Slice very thin and set aside.

Carrot: Peel and grate using a vegetable grater

Herbs: Separate the leaves from the stalks and using clean fingers crush to release fragrant oils.


In a heavy bottom pan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat until it is hot and you see ripples.

Add the garlic and onions and on medium-low heat sauté for about 10 minutes until the onions have softened but have not browned.

Add the grated carrot and herbs. Sauté for a minute or so. Add the tomatoes. Simmer with lid on the pan on medium-low heat for 30-35 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Using an immersion hand/stick blender, process for a few minutes to slightly crush but do not puree.

Use in myriad recipes as called for. Will freeze well for several weeks.



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