Today, the three grocery stores I use the most (Strack and Van Til and Whole Foods) have olive bars where one can dip out, mix and match. I tend to dip out the tried and true Kalamata (Greek black) and Manzanilla (Spanish green). Then I add the small French green Picholines and the French black Nicoise. Once marinated (recipe below), they make a delicious addition to an antipasti offering and pair well with many cheeses and sausages. Put into a pretty jar, they make a perfect hostess gift.
Marinated Spicy Olives
2 cups olives, mixed
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
3/4 cup good olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes or to taste
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1. Place the olives and the lemon slices in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
2. In a small saucepan over low to medium heat, combine the olive oil, oregano, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Bring just to a slight simmer. Pour over the olives. They should be covered so add enough more oil to do so.
3. Cover and let stand at room temperature for four hours. Then refrigerate for at least two days up to two months.
4. Serve at room temperature