Because it is difficult to make the rosemary oil in small quantity, this recipe yields more than you will need to flavor the olives. It is an extremely versatile oil that can be used in salad dressings, on vegetables, ripe tomatoes and roasted peppers, pasta, mashed or baked potatoes, to fry eggs, to drizzle on foccaccia and grilled bread, and in soups and vegetable stews.
Nicoise olives are available in jars in the gourmet section of supermarkets. The olives will keep about 3 weeks and the oil indefinitely under refrigeration.
2. Strain the oil into a small bowl, pressing the rosemary sprigs with the back of a spoon to extract any oil.
3. Place the olives in a medium bowl. Add the rosemary sprigs and 1 tablespoon of the rosemary oil to the olives and toss to coat. Add fresh pepper to taste and pack the olives and rosemary in clean, dry jars.
Andrea Reusing is the creator of the restaurant Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C., and author of the book Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes. In this installment of The Key 3, she shares with Lynne Rossetto Kasper the techniques behind three of her favorite recipes: Turnip Soup, Overnight Braised Short Ribs and Tomato Salad.