Chef Ben Ford has a neat party trick: feeding everyone with a gigantic grill-centric outdoors feast. Dozens of people, typically with a whole animal. Chef Ford’s formidable new cookbook, Taming the Feast, is the ultimate guide to hardcore al fresco entertaining.
Need an easy, flavorful and light appetizer to keep the crowd in check while the whole pig roasts? Warm Spanish olives with clementines are briny and flavorful, seasoned simply with bay leaves and rosemary.
- 1 bulb fennel, trimmed
- 4 dried arbol chiles
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups brine-cured olives, such as Arbequina, Empeltre, Manzanilla or a mix, drained
- 2 clementines
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon fennel fronds, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 cup whole Marcona almonds
- flaky sea salt
- crusty bread, for serving
- Cut the fennel bulb in half through the core.
- Lay the halves flat side down and slice them thinly lengthwise.
- Put the fennel slices in a medium bowl.
- Coarsely crush the chiles with the flat side of a large knife and add them to the bowl with the fennel.
- Drizzle with 1/2 cup of the oil and add the olives.
- Peel and segment one of the clementines.
- Slice the peel into thin strips.
- Add the peel and segments to the fennel and olives.
- Add the bay leaves, half of the fennel fronds (reserve the rest for garnish) and fennel seeds and toss to combine.
- Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least several hours to marinate. The olives can be prepared to this point up to a week in advance.
- When you are ready to serve the olives, preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Heat the remaining 1/2 cup of oil in two small or one large, shallow flameproof earthenware or cast-iron dish or skillet over high heat until the oil slides easily in the pan, about 2 minutes.
- Add the rosemary and toss to coat the sprigs with the oil.
- Reduce the heat, add the almonds, season with salt and toss to coat them in the oil.
- Turn off the heat and add the olive mixture to the pan(s) with the almonds.
- Place the dishes on a baking sheet and roast the olives for about 10 minutes, until the rosemary is lightly browned.
- Set aside to cool for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the flavors to seal the deal and to let the olives become cool enough to eat.
- Remove and discard the bay leaves.
- Cut the remaining clementine into 1/8-inch-thick rounds and place them on top of the olives.
- Serve warm with crusty bread for dipping into the oil.
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