Warm Olives al Limone

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Buon giorno!

Here’s a nibble! So run to your nearest “good food purveyor” and pick yourself up a delicious assortment of olives for the weekend. WARM OLIVES AL LIMONE is the perfect appetizer for cocktails, football games, or just to pick on while you are sitting in front of the fire avoiding cold and snow.

This is the loveliest of appetizers – simple, rustic. Yet, it offers a comforting elegance – with your martinis, wine, and even beer. Does it matter to warm them or bake them? You bet it does. It is transformative. Olive lovers know how wonderful it is to bite into a fruity or spicy one while downing their favorite martini or a favorite Italian wine, but this preparation – the warming, the lemon, the… well, you get it. This quick and easy way to serve olives just takes them to another universe with a minimum of fuss.

WARM OLIVES AL LIMONE have an old world look and flavor that is comforting and addictive, especially when you add that single ingredient that seems to compliment everything – a loaf of crusty bread. Part of the fun of these olives is breaking off a hunk of the bread and dunking it into the warm spiced oil that results from preparing this dish. Mmmmm…

Suggestions: Perhaps, you might like to sprinkle some crisp pancetta pieces on the top. Try adding a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano to serve with the olives. My favorite wine for these beautiful olives is a Valpolicella or a Chianti Classico. Either keeps the spirit of the rustic flavors in the dish.

This is another delectable and easy Italian route to delighting your guests – or yourself in with just a few quick zests of a fresh lemon and a couple of other fresh ingredients.

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Serves: several as an appetizer

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

3 1/2 c. mixed olives

Some of my favorites are: Castelvetrano, Cerignola: green or black, Kalamata, Gaeta, Nicoise. A mix of these is heaven.

1/3 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (This is the time to get out the good stuff!)

Zest of a fresh lemon – also make a few thin strips from the lemon zest – they are pretty.

1 good “squeeze” from a fresh lemon

1/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

1 1/2 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary

1 Tbsp.Fresh Thyme or Lemon Thyme

1 Fresh garlic clove chopped finely or minced (please do not use the stuff from the jar)


Toss your olives with the oil, lemon zest, red pepper, herbs, and garlic. lay them out on a large piece of foil on a baking sheet. Place another piece of foil over the top and tent the olives – seal tightly at the edges.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve warm with crusty bread for dunking.

Just tell me you can resist these WARM OLIVES AL LIMONE! Report back from the outer orbit you reach when you devour these little numbers, and let me know how you like them!


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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography

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