Olive All’ascolana

Stuffed Deep-Fried Giant Olives

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    6

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

These stuffed olives are one of Le Marche’s most famous and traditional recipes. They are usually served either as part of an antipasto or alongside a meat recipe as a delicious side dish. They are best served just warm, but are also good cold. The key to this recipe is to find olives that are large enough to stuff successfully without them splitting. The recipe is named after the town of Ascoli Piceno, which is surrounded on three sides by the mountains of two vast national parks: Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini on the north-western flank and Parco Nazionale dei Monti della Laga to the south.

Ingredients

  • 60 giant green olives, preserved in brine
  • 115 g/4 oz pork fat
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 150 g/5 oz/ cup minced/ground pork
  • 115 g/4 oz/½ cupminced/ground beef
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp tomato paste, diluted in 15 ml/1 tbsp cold water
  • 3 chicken livers, trimmed and chopped
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp beef stock
  • 1egg, beaten
  • 50 g/2 oz/ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 75 ml/5 tbsp plain/all-purpose flour
  • 2eggs beaten with 15 ml/1 tbsp milk
  • 45-60 ml/3-4 tbsp fine dry breadcrumbs
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Method

  1. Pit all the olives carefully using an olive pitter, cherry stoner, apple corer or long, thin- bladed knife. It is important to keep them whole and as tidy as possible. Discard the pits.

  2. In a frying pan, heat the pork fat with the oil, then add the minced pork and beef, and cook for about 5 minutes until the meat is all well browned. Add the tomato paste mixture to the pan. Mix well, and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken livers and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  3. Allow the mixture to cool, then chop the liver and mince mixture finely using a heavy knife. Alternatively, put the liver and mince mixture into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Add the breadcrumbs, stock, beaten egg and Parmesan cheese to the mixture. Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.

  5. Carefully, using your fingers, fill each olive with a little of the meat mixture. Roll the olives in the flour, then in the beaten egg and milk, and then in the dry breadcrumbs.
  6. Half fill a heavy pan with oil. If using a deep-fryer, fill it to the level recommended in the instruction book. Heat the oil to 180°C/350°F or until a cube of bread, added to the oil, turns golden in about 45 seconds.
  7. Add the olives, in batches, to the hot oil and deep-fry until golden brown. Drain the olives on kitchen paper and serve hot or cold with the lemon wedges.