Marinated Olives With Orange And Fennel

I love the look of a bowl of olives on a table, especially when surrounded with other beautiful snacks. To me, olives fall in the same category as the cocktail hour, Frank Sinatra, mellow social engagements with an easy going kick of class, and living the good life. Yes one little recipe for olives can do all that.
Makes 2 cups (500ml), level of difficulty - easy

¼ cup (60ml) of olive oil
2 teaspoon (10ml) sherry vinegar
2 Tablespoons (30ml) of orange juice
2 teaspoons (10ml) of grated orange rind
1 teaspoon (5ml) of chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon (15ml) of fresh basil
2 teaspoon (10ml) of fennel seeds, slightly crushed
¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) chili flakes
2 cups (500ml) of mixed olives (of your liking like kalamata, picholine, etc), drained
½ cup (125ml) of thinly sliced fennel, cut into 1-inch lengths

In a medium non-reactive bowl, throw in everything except for the olives and the chopped parsley. Mix it all together really well and add the olives. Mix it all together again. Cover the bowl and pop into the fridge. Allow the olives to marinate for one to three days before serving them. You’ll want to give them a stir now and then during this time. For serving, bring the olives to room temperature.

Wine Match – Amontillado Sherry

Sherry comes to life when paired with the right food. Olives are the perfect choice, with their briny, salty flavor and rich, oily texture. Amontillado is medium in body with a nice nutty flavor which matches the flavor of olives. It has big enough body to not be overpowered by the olives, and the fresh orange and fennel flavors contrast with the rich nuttiness of the wine. If you’re serving this with a table full of nibblies, you could also pair this dish with Cava, the Spanish sparkling wine. Its refreshing bubbles clean up your taste buds after each bite, and its fruity, fresh flavors are an excellent pairing for salty snacks.

This recipe and wine pairing is from the book: This Food That Wine, a cookbook and wine pairing guide available in stores across Canada.

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