Two kinds of cooks entertain at home: those who want guests in their kitchen, and those who don’t. Fried Stuffed Olives are definitely for the former. Filled with pork, salami, mortadella and cheese, these single bites of indulgence may be the perfect antipasto. In my opinion, they’re best still warm, almost hot. Out of the pan and into the mouth, with only a minute or two in between. That means people nearby, glass of wine in hand, paper towel at the ready. Cook, drain, eat. Fun all round.
You may have noticed that we don’t feature many deep-frying recipes. We love deep-frying–especially squash blossoms with chevre and tapenade inside–but we keep it a rare treat, so that we appreciate it all the more when we do. Deep-frying need not necessarily be the cardiovascular or carcinogenic killer that it has been portrayed to be, not if you select the right oil for frying, possess a thermometer, and pay attention to keep the temperature where it’s supposed to be. Writing in the NEW YORK TIMES food section last week Mark Bittman did a fine job of explaining the ins and outs of healthy deep-frying. In a nutshell–pick the right oil and keep it at the right temperature. If you want to know more, click on the link.
For readers who’ve ever had a drink and an order of fried olives at the bar at Rialto, and are wondering, Are these the same? They are. One of the pleasures of Rialto bar anthropology is watching a regular introduce a skeptical newcomer to the olives. Something wicked this way comes. Invariably the newcomer tries one and says “Oh my God!” Ha! Happy Halloween! Enjoy. Ken
FRIED STUFFED OLIVES
Makes 50 stuffed olives
Makes about 50 olives
- 3 ounces fatty ground pork
- 1 ounce minced mortadella
- 1 ounce minced salami
- 1 lemon, zest finely grated, and then cut into 8 wedges, seeds removed
- 1 teaspoon finely grated garlic
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1½ ounces finely grated parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ pound pitted green olives, about 50 olives
- 2 quarts pure olive oil
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup flour
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- Put the pork, mortadella, salami, lemon zest, garlic, paprika, pepper flakes and parmesan cheese in a bowl. Mix just enough to combine. If you want, cook a little of the mixture in a pan to test for flavor. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. I found I needed neither as the meats, cheese and olives had enough salt and the paprika and pepper flakes provided enough spice.
- Make a slit to open up the olive. Stuff with a bit of the mixture, and then squeeze the two halves together. Continue until all the olives are stuffed. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. This will help the flour stick to the olives.
- Beat the eggs together in a bowl.
- Roll the olives first in the flour, then the eggs and then the crumbs in batches of 10 or so. Transfer to a sheet pan. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Put the oil in a heavy deep-sided pan over medium heat. Bring it up to 350°F.
- Cook the olives in batches of 10 until golden brown and the sausage is cooked through, about 2 minutes. They will bob on the surface when they are done. Using a slotted spoon, scoop them out onto a pan or rack lined with paper towels. Keep warm, if people are eating them immediately.
- Continue until all the olives are cooked. After finishing one batch, allow the oil to come back to 350° before adding the next one. (See my notes below.)
- Serve immediately or at room temperature with the lemon wedges.
There’s nothing not to like about these little babies, unless you don’t eat pork. If that’s the case, use lamb sausage and a cured lamb or beef salami. The filling for the olives is super simple, justa little mincing and grating. If you want to skip the fuss and move directly to frying, use your favorite sausage for the stuffing. Remove it from the casing and fill the olives as above. You can fry all of these up and use them as the last addition to an antipasti platter, but to be honest, they never make it out of our kitchen. We tend toward a very casual style of entertaining, and that means people hanging out where and when the food is cooked. I have never had a guest who hasn’t been eager to step right up as these emerge from the oil.
For more technical detail about deep frying take Ken’s advice and read Mark Bittman’s article. From a practical standpoint, the most important thing is keeping the oil at the right temperature–350°. Too cool and the olives emerge greasy, instead of marvelously crisp on the outside. Too hot, and the oil will smoke, a signal the oil is breaking down, bad for the flavor of the olives and bad for your health. We used evoo, but if you’re concerned about being able to keep things below the smoking point, use pure olive oil, which has a higher smoking point. Which ever you choose, take your time when cooking, allowing the oil to come back up to 350° between batches. People will wait.
This looks and sounds delicious.
It’s pretty tasty. Thanks for the comment. Ken
Patrick R. Ramage (Thoughtfully but hastily typed on his iPhone 5. Apologies!)
Delicious! (We could do this before your Peruvian Chicken.) Ken
Hi Ken and Jody, what a wonderful coincidence.
I just spent last week in the Marche region in Italy, picking olives.
tuffed olives, or Olive ascolane as they call them, are one of the most popular recipe found in the éntrées.
I had the chance to try a version that had a black truffles and breadcrumbs shell…heavenly!
Thank you for this recipe.
Have a lovely weekend :)
Lucky you! Your version sounds delicious! You’re the second person to comment on Marche connection. It’s not an area of Italy I know (except for its association with Aqua Cotta). Clearly it needs to go on the list. Ken
I want to come to your dinner parties!
I like to have guests in the lounge/dining room, but that’s because I’m usually in a mild panic in the hour or so before a dinner party starts… :-D Maybe that gets better with time and experience.
This is probably incredibly selfish, but because we so value the time when we can actually eat together at our own home we only invite people willing to get in the trenches with us. You may also need a few more disasters in your life, then you can tell yourself, “No matter how this goes, it won’t be as bad as…” We have plenty of those too. Ken
Wise words. Will keep them in mind.
une super idée pour l’apéritif… il faut juste choisir de bonnes et grosses olives pour cela, car si elles sont trop petites, ça ne doit pas être facile de les farcir ! bon week end ! :)
For the small ones, you must make sure to hire tiny kitchen helpers. :-) Merci, Lydie. Ken
Beautiful. I finally bought a small deep fryer, and this will be my first test recipe. Unless it’s deep fried manchego…
That sounds really good. By now you should have a kitchen that would service a medium-sized restaurant–and with new lights! Ken
These look fantastic, well done! I don’t know about the Bar Rialto … but … in Italy it is the Region of the Marche, and Ascoli Piceno in particular, that gave birth to fried stuffed olives, suitably called “olive all’ascolana”. The olives have to be those large ones from Ascoli. I adore them!!!
Thank you, Josephine, for that information. Of course, in the interests of accuracy we’ll now have to go to the Marche just to be sure. :-) Ken
This looks awesome! I love olives. Okay, not so much of a pork fan – snorts – you know considering *I’m* pork. But, we could use another type of meat… like cow. I like cow. Thanks – I’ll have to see if the humans can try this. XOXO – Bacon
I think the humans will go for it. :-) You might try beef. Ken
hhmm – beef sounds delicious! XOXO – Bacon
These sound and look so good. I’m thinking I may have had some fried olives in a restaurant somewhere but I’m not sure they were stuffed with meat. Is this a traditional Italian thing?
Hi, Ayako–I don’t know why my replies to you seem to consistently disappear. To answer your question, yes, it’s a traditional Italian thing. Italians from all over the country stuff olives with peppers, cheese, cured meats, etc. then preserve them in a brine. These are a little different in that they’re stuffed with preserved meats and cheese and then deep fried, a specialty of the Marche region. I think they originally ended up on the bar menu when Jody included them as part of a regional menu for the Marche. They proved so popular that she simply let them remain, even after the regional focus shifted elsewhere. When you taste one, you understand why. Ken
Ken, I always appreciate your thorough response! Thank you. :D
Pretty much fun. Ken
Never imagined one could stuff an olive. It looks amazing!
Italians stuff olives all the time, hot and cold, sometimes really elaborately, then make them part of an antipasti. Thanks! Ken
These are making me very very hungry!! Nice recipe
Thanks. Guess they’re doing their job. Ken
I’ve enjoyed more than my share of these at the Rialto bar and can’t wait to make them myself at home. These will be on offer at my next dinner party for sure!
Oh, you’re the guy with his forehead down on the bar, murmuring, “More fried olives, more fried olives…” I wondered who you were. :-) They’re great for a dinner party–as long as the guests are too somber or finely dressed. Thanks, Steve. Ken
Not a good idea to read your blog at 10:30pm… :-) mouthwatering… xoxo
Thank you, Tal. I’m sure you have things that I DEFINITELY shouldn’t be thinking of eating at 10PM either. Ken
Thanks Ken :-)
Wow, these look absolutely incredible! What a perfect appetizer!
Thanks, Cate. They are fun–and tasty. Ken
Good golly. My mouth is watering!
Hi, Kayla–Isn’t that what’s supposed to happen when someone invites you back into the kitchen for a little appetizer before the main show? ;-) Ken
If you come by Rialto, instead of Trade, the next time you’re in town, I’m sure we could oblige you. :-) Ken
I’ve got a case going that may involve some travel to the Boston area, so I may just do that!
These look absolutely drool-worthy! I’ll take 3 dozen please!
Ha! I’d get out that apron and start stuffing olives, Lana. Ken
Haha! That’s the plan, Ken! :)
Reblogged this on Addicted to life <3.
Thanks! Good luck with the new blog. Ken
Mind a little blown. This is great.
Haha. Nice to hear that minds are still capable of being blown. I thought we were all jaded and ironic now. Thanks for stopping by. Ken
My son adores them! sometimes I fill them with cheese, instead of meat…
Our kids–and their friends–are crazy about them too. Do you mix cheese with breadcrumbs for stuffing, or just plain cheese. I’d be a bit afraid it would melt. Ken
The mix is: cheese, mustard seed, rosemary, sage…and garlic…(just a very small quantity…if my son gets it, he will not eat them::)..if you refrigerate them before cooking, the cheese will firm up….
I use the olives coming from Puglia (in this case)…and not those I can pick up in “the garden”…(just 40ha all cultivated with olive trees::)
Sounds delicious. Clever idea with the refrigerator. Nice “garden.” :-) Ken
Most excellent. I don’t mind folks in the kitchen when cooking as long as they don’t mind my lack of chatting while cooking. It’s hard for me to focus! :)
„Olive all‘ Ascolana“ – eine typische edle Vorspeise aus der Region Marken, und dem Pikenischen Gebieten, welche ungefähr an der ausgebeulten Wade, des italienischen Stiefels liegen..
Glücklich sein können die, welche bei privaten Einladungen in den Genuss dieser kleinen Köstlichkeiten kommen. Selbst in der Region sind es nicht allzu viele, Restaurants die Sie anbieten.
Traditionell wird Gnochetti di crema („Cremini“), d.h. panierte und frittierte Tortencreme-Würfel, die süßlich sind und angeblich perfekt zu dem etwas bitteren Oliven Geschmack passen sollen.
Machen Sie es wie „Jody and Ken“, einfach ran an die Oliven.
Eine Geschmackskomposition die überzeugt. :-) matai
Matai–What a culinary traveller you are! First I learn about the Marche connection from reader comments, now I’m told exactly where in the Marche they come from. Your alternative version also sounds interesting. If I ever find myself in the area I will definitely seek them out. Thanks. Ken
wow, It looks so yummy and reminds me of my mom’s food. by the way, I have a same plate:)
Great minds shop alike. Thanks. Ken
These look totally wicked and I’m sure there’s a great veggie version to be made. Excellent ‘how to’ photos – very inspiring!
Thanks. Sure you can do a veggie version–just pick your favorite (relatively) hard cheese, not something that melts instantly or you’ll end up with a gooey mess. Putting a slice of sweet pepper inside wouldn’t hurt either. Ken
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Thank you for referencing us. Ken