The star of this recipe is the lemon confit. The recipe makes about 1 cup. It will keep in the refrigerator up to a month so you can make multiple batches of the marinated olives.
4 large lemons
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup neutral flavored oil such as canola, safflower or grape seed
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 bay leaf, optional
Olives, we especially love green Cerignola or Castelvetrano olives
Extra-virgin olive oil
Crushed red chili flakes
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the yellow peel from lemons in long strips. Try not to peel away any of the white bitter pith. Squeeze about 1/3 cup of lemon juice — from 1 to 2 lemons.
Bring a small saucepan with water to a boil, add the lemon peel and leave in the boiling water for 10 seconds. Remove the peel and drain the water. Fill the saucepan with water for a second time. Bring to a boil then add the lemon peel and leave in the boiling water for 10 more seconds. Drain and wipe the pan dry.
Add the lemon juice, olive oil, canola oil, garlic and about 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the saucepan. Bring to a simmer then add the lemon peel and cook at a low simmer until the peel is soft and pliable, about 1 hour. Cool then store in an airtight container completely covered in oil.
Remove a few sliced of lemon confit (use a clean utensil). Finely chop. Add about 1 cup of olives, 2 tablespoons olive oil, red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper to a small saucepan and heat just until warm over low heat. Serve warm or at room temperature.