Tasty Olive appetizer

Olives al forno

A tasty olive appetizer

3-4 cups of  mixed olives or just choose your favorite!

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Wide strips of 1 orange and 1 lemon rind, cut with a vegetable peeler

1/2 cup fresh rosemary

2 bay leaves

Garlic Hot Pepper Blend (see below)

1. Combine the olives in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, citrus zest, bay leaves and rosemary. Add the garlic mixture and toss to combine. (This mixture can be made a few days ahead and refrigerated at this point.)

2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Transfer the olives to a large shallow baking dish (and place it on a large baking sheet to catch any oil that bubbles over). Roast until the oil is sizzling 8-10 minutes. Serve warm with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar laced on top.

Garlic Hot Pepper Blend    Makes 1/2 cup

1 cup garlic cloves

3 dried whole Calabrian chili peppers

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil or more as needed

1. Combine the garlic, chilies and olive oil in a small saucepan, adding enough oil to come three-fourths of the way up the sides of the garlic.

2. Heat until the oil just starts to bubble. Reduce heat and simmer the garlic until it is deep golden brown, soft, buttery and spreadable. Keep a close watch so you don't overcook them; they burn easily and will continue to brown as they cool. Cool to room temperature, then store refrigerated in an airtight container for several days. (For longer storage, add enough oil to completely cover the cloves and refrigerate for up to several weeks.