Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten Said This Unique Appetizer Will Surprise Your Guests

Ina Garten has a number of easy appetizer ideas that are perfect for any gathering, but her warm marinated olives recipe might be the most surprising option. The Barefoot Contessa star herself found the idea of warm olives bizarre, but she was won over by the unique appetizer.

Ina Garten cooks with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show
Ina Garten and Stephen Colbert | Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images

Ina Garten’s warm marinated olives is an easy appetizer

Garten demonstrated how to make her warm marinated olives recipe on the Barefoot Contessa cooking show, explaining how fresh thyme is an herb she uses often. “It’s the — I don’t know — the Je ne sais quoi in my warm marinated olives,” she said.

Garten started by draining Kalamata and Cerignola olives, although she said any kind of olives work in the recipe.

After she put them in a big bowl, she started layering the flavors, beginning with an orange. She zested it into big peels “so you can see it when it’s served” then added garlic that she smashed to “release some of the oils in the garlic.”

“I want the flavor of the garlic and then I’m going to cook all this together,” Garten noted. “It’s going to be so good.”   

Ina Garten revealed that she never thought warm olives would taste good

As she added more delicious flavors to the appetizer, including fennel seeds, crushed red pepper flakes for a bit of heat, and fresh thyme leaves, Garten shared the inspiration for the unique recipe.

Garten said the idea for the olives came from a trip to Milan with her husband Jeffrey. They went to a shop that had roasted vegetables on trays, she said, “And one of the trays was roasted olives. And I thought, ‘Warm olives? Who eats warm olives?’”

The Barefoot Contessa star decided to give them a try and was so won over, she developed her own recipe.

“So I got them and they were delicious,” she said. “When I came home I decided I was going to try warm olives as an hors d’oeuvre and that’s what this is. They’re fantastic.”

She added salt, pepper, and olive oil to the bowl, then stirred the ingredients together. “Look at all these gorgeous flavors,” she said. “I think it looks so fabulous.”

She added a few full sprigs of thyme, then poured the olives into a sauté pan and warmed it over medium heat until the oil sizzled. “These are going to cook for about 4 to 5 minutes to get all the flavors into the olives,” Garten explained. “The olives get warm all the way through.”

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The warm olives appetizer will surprise your guests

After they warmed through, the Barefoot Contessa star remarked how “the fragrance of warm olives are amazing” and explained that she has served them right in the pan. In this case, however, she poured them into a serving bowl and provided an extra bowl for the discarded pits.

“How gorgeous is that?,” she said. “And won’t people be surprised to be served warm olives?”

You can find the full recipe on the Food Network website.