Castelvetrano & Ricotta Salata Antipasti


Castelvetrano is a town in the province of Trapani, Sicily, and it is here where I first tasted the olives of the same name. Castelvetrano olives are firm, a pale shade of green and have a rich buttery taste. I could not bring the “fresh” olives home but, I was happy to discover the jarred variety back in the U.S. in local markets. I use them in main dishes, such as, chicken with roasted lemons, salads, pasta and as an antipasti.



  • 4 ounces Castelvetrano, or other green olives
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 ounces ricotta salata or feta
  • Crusty bread (for serving)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Drain 4 oz. olives and place on a cutting board. Crush with the side of a chef’s knife (or hard flat object) to break apart the skin and flatten slightly.
  2. Smash 3 garlic cloves and peel.
  3. Using a vegetable peeler, remove peel from 1 lemon in long wide strips.
  4. Cook lemon peel, olives, garlic, ½ cup oil, and ½ tsp. red pepper in a small saucepan
    over medium-low heat, swirling occasionally, until garlic is sizzling and golden around the
    edges, 5–7 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, crumble 3 oz. ricotta salata or feta into a shallow serving bowl.
  6. Pour oil mixture over feta. Let sit at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  7. Meanwhile, tear bread into large pieces and place in oven directly on rack. Bake until craggy
    edges are golden, 5–8 minutes. Serve with the marinated cheese and olives for dipping.

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