The olives: Though I often use unpitted olives, an upside of pitted olives, aside from not having to discard the pit, is that the marinade can soak in from the inside too. Also, be sure to purchase fresh or brined olives, not olives that have already been marinated. If using brined olives, drain away the brine first.
The herbs: I like the mix of fresh and dried herbs. If you don’t have one or both fresh herbs, use 1 teaspoon dried for each, noting that your olive mix will have more little bits in it. Also, dried rosemary tends to be tougher than fresh. Conversely, if you have fresh oregano and prefer to use it, use 2 sprigs in place of the dried.
The zest: Though optional, a piece of the zest infuses subtle flavor, whereas grated zest can be too much. I like the warm note of orange, although lemon zest (or a mix) may be used.
Easy Baked Feta appetizer: Place a 7oz/200g block of feta in a small baking dish. Drizzle some of the marinade over top, and then bake for 15-20 minutes in an oven preheated to 400℉, or until the edges turn golden and the feta is very soft to the touch. When done, surround with some of the olives, and serve with crostini or slices of toasted ciabatta or crusty bread of choice. Tip: If you’d like to remove the feta to a different plate, line the baking dish with parchment paper so you can use it to easily lift the feta.
Another feta option: If desired, you can replace a portion of the olives in the main recipe with cubes of feta cheese for a Spanish-style marinated olives and feta.