Italian Fried Stuffed Olives Olive all' Ascolana

 

We’re olive freaks in my family!  Green, black, stuffed or plain . . . we just love olives.  And there’s one way that olives are prepared in Italy that is just way over the top — Italian Fried Stuffed Olives!  The name ‘Olive all’ Ascolana’ refers to where this recipe originated in Italy:  Ascoli Piceno in Le Marche, Italy.  Although Italians are fiercely regional about their culinary specialties, these hearty treats are so beloved that they are now served throughout Italy.  

So if you’re looking for a crazy, delicious new appetizer to add to your next get-together menu, you’ve just found it!

You won’t be able to stop eating at just one . . . you’ll be hooked, since these are addicting, and if you’re like me, you just might inhale a whole plate full.  So you can’t say that you weren’t warned in advance . . . these will disappear instantly!

These meaty gems stuffed with a crazy delicious filling of pork, beef, chicken, veggies, garlic and cheese are perfect to serve on an antipasto platter, or to enjoy as an ‘appertivo’ with a cocktail, negroni or spritz (which is quite common in Italy).  When the family gathers for a special occasion, it’s very common to serve Italian Fried Stuffed Olives.  They are quite a filling appetizer to satisfy your appetite until dinner is served.

The filling is so da** good that my husband ate it straight from the pan and then topped a hot dog with it!  Not exactly what foodies associate with an Italian stuffing, but I have to say, he created quite a masterpiece hot dog!  And now, my non-foodie husband is suggesting other ways to use the filling!  I think that I’ve just created a monster!

You can use any large olive for this recipe, but to truly taste the ultimate Italian Fried Stuff Olives, you should use imported Castelveltrano olives with their brilliant green color, crunchy texture, superb freshness that just burst with flavor.  There’s simply no comparison.  You can find them at Whole Foods on their olive bar (with or without pits), Italian specialty food stores, or online.

Italian Fried Stuffed Olives Olive all' Ascolana

 

Similar to many Italian recipes, preparing Italian Fried Stuffed Olives is a ritual and so it’s nice to have others help you.  Grab a glass of wine and add a little gossip in the mix . . . and you’ve got the feeling of being in an Italian kitchen!  Prepare yourself for lots of laughing and loud conversations!  What can I say?  That’s Italian!  But, yes, these olives are a bit time-consuming to make, just like making stuffed pastas!  But they’re well worth the time and you’ll appreciate it when you bite in!

Italian Fried Stuffed Olives Olive all' Ascolana

 

Oh and you know those long skinny olive dishes?  These olives are just beautiful served in one (or two or three) and just placed here and there for guests to serve themselves.  I picked up this adorable and super creative fork (with matching spoon) at a local art fair.  It’s just perfect for your guests to pick up the olives, don’t you think?  I just love it!

The recipe presented here is one that I adapted from a classic Italian cookbook, The Splendid Table“.  The filling for the olives can be adapted in many ways to make your own customized versions:  add mortadella or prosciutto . . . or have some that are stuffed with goat cheese, rosemary and garlic.  And if you want something meatless, you can even add some cooked seafood into the filling mix.  Personally, I find the idea of adding seafood simply disgusting, {well, that is with the exception of anchovies}.   But then that’s just me {plus my husband would gag too)!  You may love it though!

Italian Fried Stuffed Olives Olive all' Ascolana

 

One of the best things about these little dandies is that you can even fill and bread them ahead of time, {like I said, this is a long process}, then just stick them in the fridge until about an hour before you’re ready to serve them to your guests.  Simply take them out of the fridge so that they come to a nice room temperature and then plop them into their nice hot oil bath before serving.

Or just indulge on them yourselves with a lovely glass of wine!  {But that wouldn’t make your guests very happy, would it?}

As you can see close up (below) the double breading really adds a thick layer of deliciousness too!

Italian Fried Stuffed Olives Olive all' Ascolana

 

Here’s the recipe for you that I hope you try and that you’ll enjoy over and over again!

Mangia con baci!

Italian Fried Stuffed Olives - Olive all' Ascolana

Italian Fried Stuffed Olives - Olive all' Ascolana

Ingredients

  • 60 large, whole green Castelvetrano green olives
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (my addition to this recipe)
  • 1 small carrot, finely grated
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery and the leaves (the original doesn't include leaves, but my mother taught me to always use the leaves which are packed with more flavor than the stalks)
  • 4 - 6 ounces mild Italian sausage (my addition to this recipe that replaced plain ground pork)
  • 4 - 6 ounces ground beef
  • 4 - 6 ounces ground chicken
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg (the original calls for a pinch, but there's no taste with just a pinch!)
  • pinch of cracked red pepper (my addition to this recipe)
  • freshly cracked sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 eggs (the original recipe calls for 1 egg, but you'll run out of egg, if you only have 1, so I added two more to dip the olives into)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 - 3 cups Italian breadcrumbs (the original recipe calls for 'plain' breadcrumbs, which I changed)
  • 1 bottle vegetable or olive oil for frying

Instructions

Prepare the Olives

  1. With a small paring knife, moving in a spiral motion around each olive, cut down through to the pit. With the knife inserted in the olive, turn it around and slice it in one spiral continual slice (similar to peeling an apple in with one continual peel).
  2. Discard the pit and place olive in bowl of salted water. Repeat with all olives.

For the Filling

  1. In a mini food processor, place the chopped onions, carrot, and celery to finely mince (this is the 'soffrito').
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil.
  3. Saute the 'soffrito' of onions, carrot and celery for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the minced garlic and saute' for another minute (my addition to this recipe).
  5. Add the sausage, ground beef and ground chicken; with the end of a large cooking spatula, chop up the meats as they cook for 5 - 10 minutes until completely cooked.
  6. Add wine, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper (to taste) and cook for 10 minutes or until the liquid is slightly reduced.
  7. Transfer the entire mixture to a food processor and blend until a smooth paste develops.
  8. Add the egg yolk and Parmesan cheese and blend again.
  9. Remove the mixture and shape into into a ball; if it is too soft or sticky, place it in the refrigerator to chill. ** This filling can be made up to two days ahead and kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to stuff the olives.

To Stuff the Olives

  1. Take a ½ teaspoon of the filling; roll it into an oval shape and wrap a pitted olive around it.
  2. Press gently to close the olive completely over the filling; repeat with all of the olives. Refrigerate the stuffed olives until ready to fry.

To Bread and Fry the Olives

  1. Have 3 bowls ready. One for flour, one for the eggs, and one for the Italian breadcrumbs.
  2. Dip the stuffed olives in the flour, then into the eggs and then into the breadcrumbs.
  3. Dip the breaded olives back into the eggs and breadcrumbs for a second coat.
  4. With your hands, gently press all of the breading into a nice shape around each olive.
  5. Fill a heavy deep frying pan with oil, and heat up the oil.
  6. Carefully drop each olive into the oil and fry for 1 minute until gently golden brown, turning them to brown evenly on all sides. Fry in small batches so they don't touch while frying. (If the olives brown sooner than 1 minute, the oil is too hot and the stuffing is not cooking completely, so turn the oil down if this is taking place).
  7. Place on a platter with a paper towel.
  8. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Now you have to taste this while it is still in the pan. Is there enough salt? Do you want to add some dry Italian seasonings? How about adding a pinch of fennel? How about adding a half teaspoon of minced oregano (fresh or dried)?
  • I added them all, because my family likes a LOT of flavor. But it is entirely up to you.


 

Italian Fried Stuffed Olives La Bella Vita Cucina