tapas: marinated cracked green olives

cracked marinated green olives
Spanish cuisine from the Andalusian region has been much influenced by its Arab history, (the Moors and Berbers of north Africa) using spices such as cumin, paprika, saffron, rice, citrus fruit and lots of olives.
These olives are full of herbs and spices; the longer they marinate, the tastier they become.

Serves: 6 (as tapa)
Skill level: Easy

1 x can or jar of brined large green Spanish olives (preferably unstoned), drained – about 450g
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 x garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 x lemon, cut into chunks
½ x red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 x bay leaf
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
½ tsp dried chillies flakes or 2 x small fresh red chillies
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp fennel seeds
2 x sprigs fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme
1 x sprig fresh rosemary or ¼ tsp dried rosemary leaves
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil (preferably Spanish)


  1. Lightly crush the olives (by placing them on a chopping board and then bashing them with a rolling pin, so that they crack lightly). This will allow the marinade flavours to penetrate the olives.
  2. Put the olives in a large bowl and add the red wine vinegar, garlic, lemon, red pepper, bay leaf, coriander seeds, chilli, cumin, fennel seeds, rosemary and thyme. Toss together and add a little freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Pack all these ingredients into a lidded glass jar. They need to be jammed in quite tightly.
  4. Pour in the olive oil until covered.
  5. Seal the jar tightly and leave for 24 hours at room temperature.
  6. Put the jar in the fridge and leave for at least one week, but preferably two weeks, to continue marinating, before serving.
  7. Every few days, carefully shake the jar, to make sure all the ingredients are mixed together.
  8. These olives will keep for months in the refrigerator, so long as they are covered in the olive oil. The longer they marinate, the more the flavour of the olives will be enhanced.
  9. To serve, bring the olives back to room temperature.
  10. Use cocktail sticks to spear the olives.


  • Use the olive oil that the olives have been marinating in either in a salad dressing or in your cooking. It adds an extra oomph of flavour.


o cozinheiro este algarve said...

the olives flavoured with anchovy lift this to even greater heights. Do try it if you can find them in a good spanish deli. The jar will be labelled "sabor anchoa"

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Olives with anchovies are a taste that I have only acquired relatively recently. It makes me feel quite grown up! :)

Love olives with lemon though. Probably my absolute favourite. Even happy to have the stuff in tins . . . love them!

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