Olive Ascolane

The name Ascolane derives from the town of Ascoli Piceno (Marche). Ascoli was the ancient capital of the Piceni tribe, it lies in a narrow valley at the confluence of the rivers Castellano and Tronto, with the Sibillini mountains rising behind.

In the culinary world Ascoli is particularly renowned for its large green olives, which are made into the wonderfully appetising dish of olive ascolane. The olives are stoned and stuffed with a mixture of meats and spices, dipped in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. They are fiddly to make but well worth it These olives are also part of a fritto misto ascolano.

Ingredients

Filling

  • 600 g/1 lb 5 oz Ascoli olives (large green olives)
  • 100 g/ oz chicken breast
  • 100 g/ oz pork
  • 100 g/ oz veal
  • 1 large tablespoon tomato passato
  • ½ glass dry white wine
  • 60 g/2 oz Parma ham, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 thick slice bread, made into breadcrumbs
  • 100 g/ oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • dry breadcrumbs
  • lemon wedges
  • olive oil

Method

Chop the chicken, pork and veal roughly and fry in 4 tablespoons of olive oil, until browned. Add the tomato passato and wine. Cook on a low heat until the meat is cooked, about 5 minutes, transfer the mixture with the Parma ham into a food processor and chop very finely. Put the mixture into a bowl, add one beaten egg, the fresh breadcrumbs, Parmesan, cinnamon, nutmeg, grated lemon peel, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Remove the stones from the olives by cutting round the stone with a sharp knife but keeping the olive in 1 piece. Stuff the olives with the mixture.

Roll the stuffed olives in flour, coat in the beaten egg and then in breadcrumbs. Deep-fry in hot light olive oil. Drain the olives on absorbent paper. Serve hot with lemon wedges, to accompany drinks.