One of my favorite appetizers, it's super flavorful, easy to make and can be made in advance with simple ingredients you probably have in your house right now.
- 6 large garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds black, green or purple olives, or a combination, no pits
- 1/2 cup dry marsala
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF/ 170ºC.
- Separate the garlic cloves, leaving their skins intact. Place the garlic in medium ceramic or terra-cotta casserole dish, add olives and olive oil. Toss to coat and sprinkle with black pepper. (You can add the salt now, I do it before serving).
- Roast for 20 minutes. Add the marsala, increase the oven temperature to 400ºF/200ºC and roast until it becomes thick and syrupy.
- Add chopped mint and serve with crusty, warm bread.
Olives - make sure they have pits, it makes a big difference after they are baked.
Marsala - I like the marsala to become thick, not watery, so I put it from the beginning. You can also add it after 15 minutes. The better the marsala the better the dish, not only for the flavor but for the consistency of the syrup; pretty much like the difference between a good soy sauce and a watery one.
Garlic - don't peel it. After it is baked you'll be able to squeeze the meat out.
Bread - it's necessary to sop the juices and eat the garlic. Cracker just won't do it. Crusty bread such as baguette is the best.
Make it in advance - you can make it a day or two before. Simply reheat it in a medium oven before serving it.
Mint - it is added fresh at the end, just before serving. You can omit it, of course, but it adds a nice touch and it gives the dish kind of a sophisticated air.
Salt - careful with the added salt as it becomes very concentrated.
Keywords: marsala olives, baked olives