It's olive season over here. The trees are being stripped and the new oil is out. We went to the frantoio last week to watch the process and buy a healthy-sized jug. The gorgeous green color and fruity yet peppery flavor is unmatched. Is it any wonder I love autumn?
While many of the local olives are being pressed, a good portion are also being cured. Most of those are destined to become the local delicacy, Olive all'Ascolana. The local olive variety, the tenera ascolana, is a behometh in the olive category, perfect for stuffing with meat and deep-frying.
Despite my addiction to the fried critters, I still love a simple dish of baked olives, too. Warm and fragrant, they're irresistable and make a nice presentation when serving guests.
Mixture of black and green olives, unpitted is best
a bit of lemon or orange peel, grated
a sprinkle of chile flakes
a grating of fresh-ground pepper
a sprig of thyme and/or rosemary (fresh)
2 TBSP red wine
about 2 TBSP olive oil
Combine everything and put in an oven-proof baking dish. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. Serve warm.