Marinated olives with fennel, lemon and chili pepper

Marinated olives with fennel, lemon and chili pepper

The holiday party season is an exciting, yet frantic time of the year. But even so, you want to go the extra mile and serve something distinctive to your guests. In that spirit, even the customary bowl of mixed olives could use a little dressing up.

In this recipe, shaved fennel adds a crunchy, refreshing bite to the olives, while the lemon zest and chili pepper liven things up, and the fennel greens make the dish colorful and festive.

It only takes minutes to put this dish together, but your guests will appreciate that even your bowl of mixed olives got the holiday treatment.

Fennel bulb

Marinated olives with fennel, lemon and chili pepper

makes 2 cups
active time: 15 min

  1. 1/2 small fennel bulb
  2. 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fennel greens
  3. 1/4 teaspoon dried red chili pepper flakes or 1 small fresh cayenne chili pepper, finely chopped
  4. 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  5. 2 strips lemon zest – use vegetable hand-peeler to peel the lemon zest and cut each strip in 1/16″ julienne slices
  6. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  7. 1 1/4 lbs (565 g) mixed olives

  1. Trim and cut fennel bulb in half. Using a vegetable hand-peeler, shave 12 strips from the bulb and place in a large bowl. Add the balance of the ingredients. Stir well and let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.
  2. Cook’s note: Refrigerate up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Marinated olives with fennel, lemon and chili pepper

hors d’oeuvres, olives, fennel


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  6. Jennifer, for years I kept trying olives but found them (and olive oil) quite repulsive. Then two years ago I tried some olives which had been marinated with Italian herbs, chillies and a good lot of garlic. I’m a great garlic fan and I was able to enjoy these olives. Since then I have gradually become a fan of marinated olives and also don’t mind the flavor of olive oil now. Perhaps this could work for you.

  7. I just don’t know why – I don’t like olives unless they are somehow disguised in the dish. I’m always so amazed that people love them. This is a pretty dish, however.

    • Jennifer, It’s odd how everyone’s taste buds are so different. I couldn’t live without olives. I love their flavor so much… But I feel the way you do about pickles! Isn’t that funny?

  8. Great holiday-ey dish! It sounds so good 🙂 Buzzed!

  9. Looks so delicious Vivane! I’ve been looking forward to your newletter, thank you!

  10. What a splendid appetizer! I love olives … lots of olives.

  11. My husband and I really love olives, sounds delicious with fennel and lemon 🙂

  12. Delicious! I LOVE marinated olives!

  13. Olives are always a lifesaver when I need an easy last-minute appetizer for company, and I love how you’ve gussied these up with a quick marinade. The fennel and lemon combination sounds really delicious!

  14. beautiful party appetizer!

  15. These look wonderful–I love having olives out as a pre-dinner snack!

  16. These sound delicious Viviane! I love trying new types of olives and they are even better with added flavors. This will definitely be on my Thanksgiving table!

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