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Piquillo Peppers and Olives Pinchos

Serves 8

  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 scallion, white and light green parts very thinly sliced (to yield 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced red serrano chile, or to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 ounces small pitted green olives (jarred are fine)
  • 4 piquillo peppers or 2 roasted red peppers, cut into 1/4 inch wide strands
  • At least 40 cocktail picks
  • Pickled cocktail onions (optional)
  • Creamy feta, cut into large cubes (optional)
  • White anchovies in vinegar, or boquerones (optional)

Zest the lemon to get 1/4 teaspoon (packed) of zest. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze to get 2 tablespoons of juice. Put the zest and juice in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil, scallion, thyme, chile, salt, and pepper. Let the vinaigrette sit for at least 30 minutes (or up to 12 hours in the fridge; bring to room temperature before using) to meld the flavors and soften the scallion.

Thread a strand of pepper on a pick and then skewer the olive. Skewer on either an onion, a cube of feta, or an anchovy, if using them, and set the pick in a shallow serving dish. Repeat with about 35 more olives and peppers. If not serving right away, refrigerate.

About 30 minutes before serving, give the vinaigette a good whisk to emulsify as best you can, and then drizzle it over the olive picks.