Peanut Butter and Purple Onions

Sounds crazy until you try it.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lemon and Spice and Everything Nice

I never realized how often lemons appear in my kitchen until I found myself constantly typing "lemon" into Blogger posts. In fact, if you'd asked me pre-PBPO to rank lemons on my personal citrus hierarchy, they would have come in relatively low, probably behind oranges, tangerines, and limes.

Ahead of grapefruit, though. For sure. I've held a grudge against those ever since I learned -- painfully -- that they taste nothing like grapes. (Yes, I was a literal-minded child.)

Like many of you, though, I use lemons all the time in cooking, especially in savory dishes. (Check out Cream Puffs in Venice, where April is lemon month.) Here's a quick way to use their cheerful zing to dress up olives, which are already pretty darn good. People will never believe that you made these yourself.

Marinated Olives
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis's Everyday Italian

3 T. olive oil
2 lemons' worth of zest
.75 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1.5 c. Sicilian cracked green olives
1.5 c. kalamata olives
juice of half a lemon
2 T. chopped fresh basil

In a skillet large enough to hold all the olives, stir the oil, lemon zest, and pepper flakes over medium heat for about a minute, being careful not to let anything burn.

Turn off the heat and add the olives, mixing to coat. Add the lemon juice and basil.

Transfer everything to a container with a lid -- I use a Mason jar -- and refrigerate, shaking occasionally to mix things up, for at least twelve hours. Bring them to room temperature before serving, to great acclaim.


  • At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Tania said…

    I must admit, when I think of lemons my first thoughts are of dessert. I'd take a citrussy sweet over something chocolatey any day! But in savoury foods, I do love the combination of lemons and olives. These sound delicious, definitely the kind of nibbley snack that would be hard to stop eating! Well done!

  • At 2:00 PM, Anonymous Ivonne said…

    Hi BNA,

    Now those look like some mighty delicious olives. When can I be over to have some???

    Or even better, as someone suggested to me yesterday, can you e-mail me some???

    Thanks for the mention my friend and I'm so glad you're loving the lemons!

  • At 10:45 PM, Blogger Kalyn said…

    Ohhhh. I love the sound of this.

  • At 10:10 AM, Blogger Devorit said…

    Lovely entry . . . almost makes me want to eat olive.



  • At 1:47 AM, Blogger Nerissa said…

    Wow! that sounds amazing. But then so does the idea of having such lovely olives too. They look so plump and meaty. Not a possibility in isolation. You take what you get.

  • At 12:55 PM, Blogger BNA said…

    Hi everyone!

    Hey Tania -- love the lemon desserts. Lemon curd with just about anything is so delectable. But do come over to the savory side of lemon with these olives!

    Hi Ivonne -- I've so been enjoying your lemon series. You can come over for olives any time -- I tried to email them, but they seemed to get stuck in my outbox.

    Hey Kalyn -- they're really addictive...

    Howdy D -- that's high praise coming from an avowed olive-hater like yourself!

    Hi Nerissa -- these were really lovely olives. I've been so happy with how easy it is to find wonderful olives in nearly every grocery store around us here.

  • At 11:28 AM, Blogger Fran said…

    Olives and lemons--what a wonderful combination. Thank you for sharing this.


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