Fried olives Ascolana-style

olive_ascolane

If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of biting into a stuffed, fried olive, believe me, these can be wickedly addicting. This recipe is easy as 1-2-3 – stuff, coat, fry – although I must warn you that it’s the process of stuffing them that makes most people opt for the ready-made. Two important things that I’d like to point out about the olives are that you really need super large green ones kept in a simple brine (pre-pitted thank you). I’m not sure if it is even at all possible to find these in the states. Secondly, when you make the cut in the olive to facilitate stuffing, make a spiral incision from top to bottom, kinda like the seam on the cardboard roll of paper towels. This seems to work better than doing a straightforward slice.

stuffed_olives

fried_olivesThe rest of the procedure is merely coating the olives in flour, dipping them in beaten eggs, and giving them a roll in fine breadcrumbs. Let them sit for about 5 minutes to “set” before frying in hot oil. Since the filling is already cooked, all it needs is about a minute to get a nice crunchy, golden brown color. I’ve made these a day before (up to the coating part), and kept them in the fridge for finishing off the next day. Forget about frying them all at once to be re-warmed in the micro later. They just won’t compare. The first photo is of meat-stuffed olives that we had at the famous shop Migliori in Ascoli Piceno. My husband and I were fighting over those.

The filling can be whatever you like but remember that it needs to be well-amalgamated and not too fine nor coarse of a texture (remember we’re stuffing little buggers here). Also, take care when adding salt because the parmigiano and olives will ultimately contribute to the flavor. The following is a recipe for a beef/lamb mixture that makes enough to stuff 8 dozen large olives.

olive oil
12 oz. lean ground beef
12 oz. lamb, cubed (I cannot find minced lamb here)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup italian parsley, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
2 large eggs
1/2 cup grated parmigiano or grana
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
salt and pepper

Saute the onions and carrots in a bit of olive oil over medium heat until softened. Add the garlic, beef and lamb; continue to cook until it loses any pink color. Add wine and parsley; season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook over a low flame, stirring from time to time, for 30 minutes or until all of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside to cool.

Place the mixture in a food processor fitted with a blade and add the eggs, parmigiano and nutmeg. Process until well-combined and the texture is that of finely minced meat. This filling can be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.

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