Brine-Cured Green Olives with Quince Dressing

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

By Paula Wolfert

Published 2003

  • About

Here’s an unusual and delicious olive marinade from the Alicante region in Spain. Green olives are flavored with the quince paste called membrillo, along with a local, pungent, dried herb called pebrella and some cut-up lemon pulp. The result: a perfect balance between sweet and herbal.

Wild pebrella (Thymus pebrella) is the herb of choice. As it is now a protected species in southern Spain, I use the “politically correct” grown-under-glass pebrella imported by The Spanish Table (see Mail Order Sources). You may, of course, substitute a pungent mixture of dried savory, thyme, and orégano.


  • 2 tablespoons quince paste (Spanish membrillo)
  • ½ large lemon, diced
  • Pinches of pebrella, or substitute a mixture of thyme, orégano, and savory
  • ¼ cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups green olives (about ¾ pound), preferably brine-cured or Salt-Cured Green Olives


  1. In a small saucepan, melt the quince paste in cups water over low heat, stirring to dissolve. Remove from the heat and let cool. Add the lemon, a few pinches of pebrella, and the olive oil. Set the quince dressing aside.
  2. Rinse the olives and drain. If the olives have not been cracked or slit, use a thin-bladed knife to make a cut on one side of each olive. This will help them to absorb the marinade.
  3. Pack the olives into a ¾-quart jar. Pour the cooled quince dressing over them, cover, and leave the olives to marinate in a cool dark place at least 2 days and up to 4 days before serving. Drain and serve with a fresh sprinkling of pebrella and olive oil.