You will love these marinated olives with feta, lemon, and garlic! It is the quickest, most delicious appetizer you will ever make and the one that will wow your guests. Good olives can be mouthwatering on their own, but in this quick marinade, they are addictive!
If you love these Marinated olives, you will also love this Cretan Dako, Taramosalata or Bread Dipping Oil!
Why this recipe sings
The olives are quickly marinated on the stove in extra virgin olive oil with lemon peel, chili pepper, and garlic for a unique, delicate flavor. The heat allows the flavors to meddle quicker, infuse the olive oil, and soften the olives. The cubed feta cheese is the finishing touch for this mouthwatering appetizer.
Plenty of crusty warm bread is the perfect vessel for this dish. Dip it in the olive oil; the flavor is divine.
These olives can be served on top of grilled fish or as a delicious side dish.
Whether you're a fan of olives or just looking to try something new, these marinated olives are definitely worth a taste!
Here is what you need
The key to this dish is the quality of the ingredients.
Olives: I suggest you visit a Mediterranean or Greek grocer and get a variety of olives. Certain stores have an olive bar where you can choose and package your own olives. It's up to you whether you choose pitted olives or not. Rinse the olives of any brine they may come in before marinating. See below our quick guide to Greek olives.
Extra virgin olive oil. Get the best extra virgin olive oil for your budget. Avoid blends as they are of inferior quality and most contain questionable vegetable oils. One of my favorite extra virgin olive oils is Athena Kolymvari Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Crete. You can find it at Shoprite, Whole Foods, Titan Foods and other supermarkets.
Chili pepper. The spicy pepper adds a bit of heat but does not overpower the dish. Substitute with a teaspoon (or more) of chili flakes.
Feta cheese. The most famous Greek cheese always comes in a block and in brine. Choose a good quality feta. Avoid pre-crumbled in a plastic container as it is dry and tasteless. The same goes for fat-free feta; it does not exist in Greece. Good brands of feta widely available in the USA are Dodoni and Vikos. Trader Joe's also has good Greek feta in brine.
Lemon. You will use the zest as well as a few strips of lemon peel. It adds a freshness and a citrusy flavor to the dish.
A quick guide to Greek olives
Kalamata olives: These meaty olives have tight skin and are pretty large, with an almond-shaped and dark aubergine color. The brining process involves the addition of red wine or red wine vinegar, which gives them a rich and fruity flavor that is simply exquisite.
Green olives from Chalkidiki: These olives are known for their vibrant green skin that has a glossy finish. Their flesh is firm and rich, and they have a subtle fruity scent. When it comes to taste, they have a unique blend of bitterness and spiciness that is truly one-of-a-kind. They are widely recognized in Greece and beyond as some of the finest table olives available.
Throumpa olives from Crete: These olives have a distinct black hue and a firm consistency. They are infested with the Phoma oleae fungus, and as they mature on the tree, it causes them to lose their bitterness. Additionally, no human intervention is necessary once the best olives have been chosen.
Throumpa olives from Chios: Same as the previous variety, the bitterness of these olives is removed by the fungus Phoma oleae that grows on the tree, so there's no need for any extra processing. These olives are left to dry out naturally without any additional heat sources. You can find Throumpa Chiou all over the island and beyond, as they are gaining popularity due to their deliciously sweet flavor.
You can use many wonderful olives from other countries, such as Castelvetrano olives from Sicily, Italy, Cacereña and Manzanilla from Spain, Olives Noires de Nyons from France, etc.
How to make it
Slice the garlic and chili pepper.
Remove two to three long strips of peel from one lemon using a vegetable peeler. Scrape or slice off the white pith at the back of the lemon peel. The pith can be bitter and can add an unpleasant note to the flavor. When it is removed, the peel will be edible.
In a skillet, add ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil, the sliced garlic, lemon peel and sliced chili pepper, and cook over medium heat for two-three minutes. Add the olives and cook for five minutes.
Break the feta into bite-size pieces and put it in a shallow bowl. Pour over the olives, garlic, chilies, and all the olive oil.
Zest the other half of the lemon on top. Serve immediately with crusty bread. Enjoy!
Check out my Greek pantry staples
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Marinated Olives With Feta, Lemon And Garlic
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves sliced
- 1 chili pepper sliced
- 1 cup olives pitted
- 1 lemon
- ⅔ cup feta cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
- Slice the garlic and chili pepper.Remove two to three long strips of peel from a lemon using a vegetable peeler. Slice or scrape the white pith off from the back of the lemon peel.
- In a skillet, add ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil, the sliced garlic, lemon peel and sliced chili pepper and cook over medium heat for two-three minutes. Add the olives and cook for five minutes.
- Break the feta into bite-size pieces and put it in a shallow bowl. Pour over the olives, garlic, chilies, and all the olive oil. Zest the other half of the lemon on top.Serve immediately with crusty bread. Enjoy!