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Spanish Nibbles: Hot Olives with Citrus and Spice, Marcona Almonds, Paprika Toasted Chickpeas


  • 4 cups good-quality mixed olives

  • 3-4 strips orange peel

  • 3-4 strips lemon peel

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed (1/3 palmful)

  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 2 cups Marcona almonds (available in the bulk food section at the market) or toasted peeled whole almonds

  • 2 cans chickpeas (15 ounces each), rinsed and drained

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

  • Salt and pepper


Make a double-layered pouch of foil for the olives. Add the citrus peel, red pepper flakes and fennel seed to the olives, then top with the EVOO. Seal the pouch and shake it to distribute the spices and EVOO. Place the pouch in a hot oven at any temperature or on an outdoor grill to heat through.

Place the almonds in a small decorative serving dish.

Place the chickpeas in a medium size skillet over medium heat and cook for 15 minutes, until crisp and dry. In the last 5 minutes, season the chickpeas with paprika, salt and pepper. (If you season them up too soon, the paprika will blacken and become bitter.) Place the cooked chickpeas in a small serving bowl.

Place the olives on a platter and cut the pouch open to expose them. Place the small serving dishes for the nuts and chickpeas on the platter alongside the olives.

Place a ramekin or other small cup alongside to collect olive pits.