Goat Cheese with Olives, Lemon, and Thyme

This goat cheese with olives, lemon, and thyme is a ridiculously easy yet undeniably impressive appetizer made quite simply by infusing oil with thyme and lemon and then warming olives and setting them out alongside creamy goat cheese.

A decorative bowl filled with a sphere of goat cheese and a few olives, topped with a thyme sprig.

Even if you have a mere hour’s notice—less, even–that company’s coming, you can pull off this elegant goat cheese with olives, lemon, and thyme. The components are familiar enough to not be intimidating yet seemingly fancy enough to be memorable in the loveliest of ways. A lot more so than simply dumping out olives onto a dish. Don’t skimp on cheap ingredients, though, as the quality of each contributes largely to the sum of the parts. If you’re especially pressed for time, forget about allowing the olives and infused oil to cool to room temperature. Just dump them over the cheese when you need and the residual warmth will work its charms, making the texture of the soft cheese even softer, to the point of being almost ooey and gooey. Just add crackers.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Goat Cheese with Olives, Lemon, and Thyme

  • Quick Glance
  • (3)
  • 10 M
  • 25 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 3 reviews
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Gently heat the olives, thyme, oil, zest, and pepper in a skillet or saucepan over low heat until fragrant. Do not allow the oil to simmer.

Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Pour the olive mixture over the goat cheese. (This can be done up to 2 hours ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.)

Serve with crackers, flatbread, or baguette slices. Originally published July 16, 2012.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Do not put the goat cheese out until your guests arrive. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a taste, then realize that you need to smooth out the area where you took the taste, and before you know it, you’ve eaten half the cheese and most of the olives before the doorbell even rings.

But, yes, our friends at Gourmet are right. This is a total secret weapon. The oil warms and cools in only a few minutes, giving you plenty of time to pile crackers and baguette slices on a platter. And do use baguette slices, since you’ll want to sop up all of the lemony and thyme-y olive oil.

Speaking of thyme, strip the leaves from the sprigs just to get the most out of it.

This is truly one of the tastiest dishes that I’ve ever eaten. I understand that you may consider this an appetizer. But if you feel like a light dinner, this is all that you need. It’s very easy to prepare and quite attractive.

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