There are a few things I keep on hand for the Kitchen Time portion of a dinner party. Kitchen Time, you may wonder, is the time of the night when guests gather in the kitchen and shake me a cocktail while I stir something very important looking on the stove. Sometimes very important stirring requires more time, so the cocktails turn plural. This is my favorite time of the night.
Because I like to be fully present when guests arrive and not worry about what to do next or whether I’ve chopped enough parsley for the garnish, I always keep a few things on hand that are easy to pull out of the fridge, freezer, oven, and simply serve.
My Kitchen Time snacks are most often seasonal. Gougeres, for example, freeze well and are perfect for winter- just pop them in the oven when guests arrive. Fall calls for roasted sage almonds and Alpine cheeses. Spring?
Marinated lucque olives and fresh goat or sheep’s milk cheese.
Lucque olives are olives turned to 11. Buttery, rich, and sweet, they are the perfect contrast to spring’s lively cheeses. Spring is when animals are out grazing and foraging on wild herbs and grasses and the citrusy, herbal freshness of the cheese snuggles right up to the rich notes in the lucques.
On their own, lucque olives are delicious, but paired with fresh herbs and citrus zest, they’re addictive. I have people coming in to the wine bar I work asking if they can buy them to-go… we don’t do that.
But lucky for the person who can’t sweet-talk me into boxing them up, or who lives far away from Albany, Marinated lucque olives are super simple to make at home. And now’s the time to serve them. And, yes, they’re adaptable. Don’t have an orange? Skip it. Have sage but no rosemary? It’ll still be delicious. Just serve with a young cheese like chevre, Nicasio’s Foggy Morning or Bohemian Creamery’s Bodacious that’s sweet an fresh.
Marinated Luque Olives
3 cups lucques, in their brine
zest of one orange
zest of one lemon
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Put olives in a container that can hold them and their brine. Add the orange and lemon zest, rosemary and thyme to the brine and stir. Marinate for at least two hours and up to two weeks.
And if you’re wondering where I got that awesome heart in the title, I cut and pasted from Alyssa Milano’s twitter page. xoxoxo