Fennel Garlic Olives

Olives marinated in garlic and fennel seed infused olive oil.

To license this image please contact me at nicole@thespicetrain.com.

Good friends of ours with excellent taste buds took us to a fantastic restaurant the other day that served us the best olives I had ever eaten. Naturally I tried to replicate the recipe and this is the result: olives marinated in garlic and fennel seed-infused olive oil. Delicious! My starting point was this Bon Appetit video and, following BA’s lead, I made my first batch with oranges, but I thought the orange flavor was in the way so I left them out in the final recipe and I liked that better.

This was the first time I used castelvetrano olives and I was blown away by how good they tasted. Until now they had always looked like poison to me with their Granny Smith color so I was surprised by how mild and pleasant they were. I added liguria and kalamata as well and my suggestion is to keep the kalamata to a minimum because too many of them will overpower the garlic and fennel in the oil. The whole recipe is easy to do and even though it takes a bit of (mostly passive) time it’s well worth it. :)

Fennel Garlic Olives
Recipe type: Appetizer
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ tablespoon crushed fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried garlic
  • 2 cups brined olives (I used kalamata, castelvetrano and liguria)
  1. Add oil, garlic and fennel seeds to a sauce pan and heat until the seeds start to sizzle.
  2. Turn the heat down to low and cook until the garlic starts to brown (about 20 minutes).
  3. Turn the heat off, put on a lid and let the oil sit at room temperature for about 1 hour.
  4. Drain the olives from their liquids and put in a bowl.
  5. Pour the oil over the olives and let the mix sit for 3 hours at room temperature.
  6. Chill in the fridge overnight.

Food Photography and Styling: I find it very hard to photograph olives in a rustic setting so I went for smooth and elegant here. (No need to make life harder than it is). I used natural light from a south-facing window to the left of the set to light the olives and I liked the overall look of that. The “tablecloth” is a piece of linen fabric and I got the cute little bowl from a local shop recently, I thought it worked perfectly with the olives.
Nikon D600, 105mm, f/4, 1/30 sec., ISO 400. Natural Light.


    • Nicole B. says:

      Sounds great, Lou, I hope you like it. Yes, these castelvetrano were very nutty too, I was so surprised! :)

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