Anchovy and Pepper-Stuffed Olives with Orange
Serves 4 as hors d’oeuvres or snacks
16 large pitted, brine-cured green olives
16 salt-packed anchovy fillets, or 3 cans rolled anchovy fillets packed in oil
1 large orange
One small jar of roasted yellow peppers packed in water
The leaves from two sprigs of thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in quarters
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Freshly-ground black pepper
Using a vegetable peeler, peel off two long strips of peel from one orange. Using a citrus peeler (the kind that makes long thin strips), take the remaining peel off the orange and set it aside. Juice the orange and set the juice aside.
Take a couple of the yellow peppers from the jar and pat them dry with paper towels. Cut 16 strips of pepper two inches long and about a quarter-inch wide and set them aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse the olives in cold water and dry them with paper towels. Get an oven-safe pan that’s just big enough to hold the olives in a single layer, and lay the herbs, the garlic cloves, and the two big strips of orange peel in the bottom. Add three tablespoons of the olive oil, mix everything around, and put the pan in the oven for 5 minutes. The herbs and the peel should start to sizzle. Take a look at the garlic and if it’s brown, take it out and discard it. (If it’s still pale, leave it in, but be sure to check it while you’re roasting the olives so it doesn’t burn.)
Take the pan from the oven, add the olives, and roll the olives around in the oil mixture. Put the pan back in the oven and roast for 15 minutes or so. The olives should look a little shriveled. Take the pan out and let the olives cool off enough for you to handle them.
While the olives are roasting, start on the anchovies. For the salt-packed ones, rinse the salt off and soak them in a big bowl of cold water for 20 minutes. For the rolled fillets, gently rinse off the rolls and then let them soak in a big bowl of cold water for 20 minutes. Drain the anchovies and pat them dry. Unroll the rolled anchovies – you’ll need two pieces for each olive.
Cut a slit lengthwise in each olive through to the middle but not through the other side. Put a piece of pepper in each olive, and an anchovy fillet (or two pieces if you used the rolled fillets). Put the stuffed olives on a serving plate.
Mix 3 tablespoons of orange juice, the teaspoon of sherry vinegar, a little ground black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl. Pour it over the olives, then sprinkle the reserved orange peel on top. You can let them sit for a half hour or so for extra flavor, or serve immediately.