Combine the olives, lemon zest, rosemary, and thyme in an attractive jar that has a cover.
Bury the garlic clove in the center, add the oil, stir, cover, and refrigerate until you need it, up to several weeks.
Give the mixture another stir now and then to blend.
And try other flavors: herbs such as tarragon, other citrus peels, chilies, seasoned oils — whatever you like.
When you serve, remember to put out a small dish so guests have someplace to put the pits.
I can’t have cocktail hour without great, fresh olives — and I don’t mean the rubbery, tasteless black ones from a can.
I mean the real deal: kalamatas, niçoises, gaetas, picholines — the more variety, the better.
Most good supermarkets these days feature an olive bar — that is, a variety of loose olives available in bulk.
Some of these places include among the selection a batch of olives that have been seasoned with herbs and other flavors, too.
But it’s more fun to do it yourself: You can buy different kinds of olives (be sure to get different sizes and colors, which looks great in the bowl), select the flavors you like the best — say, thyme, cayenne, garlic, grapefruit zest, whatever — and you can control the spiciness.
You’ll have a great collection of olives for your next impromptu get-together, or an excellent addition to an antipasto platter.
And they’re almost no work at all to make.