I'm not sure but what I do know is that they're my go-to dish when I'm having company. The two reasons,- (1) I always have olives in my fridg. When I'm perusing the olive bar, I usually take a combination of Picholine, Casalvetrano, Kalamata and Nicoise. Sometimes I even add a few of those big, meaty, jumbo black olives, each about the size of a baseball. They're huge. OK I'm exaggerating. Maybe not a baseball but at least a large walnut. I like to add a few of those too. More than that and those suckers will overflow the bowl. (2) They're easy!
They I grab a few herbs from my garden, use a vegetable peeler for a few slices of lemon or orange peel, add a pinch of crushed red pepper, maybe some sliced garlic and even some blanched fennel. Throw the lot into a frying pan with a little of your best extra virgin olive oil and warm them up on low heat for 2 or 3 minutes.
1- Yes, the olives have pits.
2- Don't heat the olives too long on a hot flame or the pits will get exceedingly hot.
3- Be careful, they're addictive.
The other night I had my neighbors for dinner. They'd never had them before so I got some oooohs and aaaahs from the warm olive virgins. Let me know what you think.
WARM OLIVES WITH FENNEL, GARLIC AND ORANGE
1 small bulb fennel, trimmed
2 oranges or lemons
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled, thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Sprigs of rosemary, oregano and thyme
3 ounces Nicoise olives
3 ounces green Picholine olives
3 ounces Casalvetrano olives
3 ounces Kalamata black olives
Cut the fennel into thin strips from top to bottom. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fennel and simmer until the fennel is tender but still crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain.
With a vegetable peeler, remove 8 strips of orange peel, 2-inches long. With a paring knife, remove any white pith from the back of the peel.
Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the fennel, orange peel, garlic, red pepper flakes and herbs until they begin to sizzle, 1 minute. Add the olives and warm 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and place the olives on a small platter. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of the oil.