Warm Spiced Olives

by Brenda Langton, Tastemaker in Residence

Spiced olives are a great addition to an appetizer plate. They can also be served with couscous and roasted vegetables or with hummus and pita bread. When buying olives, seek out a good source that carries a variety of quality olives, such specialty delis and cheese shops. When choosing olives from a grocery store’s olive bar, trust your nose more than anything to ensure that you are getting the freshest olives possible. Generally speaking, buy olives with pits, although for cooking it can be more convenient to buy pitted.

// makes 3 cups 


1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1⁄2 tablespoon whole coriander seeds 

2 teaspoons fennel seeds
3 cups kalamata or assorted olives
Lemon zest or dried chili flakes (optional) 


  1. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan large enough to fit the olives. Add the garlic and sauté over medium heat for just a minute. 

  2. Add the coriander and fennel seeds to toast for just another minute. Do not let the garlic brown. You may need to turn down the heat. 

  3. Reduce the heat to low, add the olives, and cook until the olives are warmed. 

  4. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

  5. Note: If the olives are very salty, soak them in water for 1⁄2 hour. Drain and rinse well. Olives will last in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks.