For years I’ve been wanting to make these delectable olives to serve with drinks. I’d never tasted them, but the recipe intrigued me. I first read about them in a cookbook called Enoteca by Joyce Goldstein (owner of the former Square One in San Fransisco and author of a variety of wonderful cookbooks). I always shied away from making them because I didn’t want to be standing at the stove deep frying when I had guests walking through the front door. We spent two days in Ascoli Piceno in Le Marche on our recent trip in Italy and this city is famous for this treat. We sampled them while walking through the beautiful Piazza Arringo and I was hooked! I knew that I would be making them upon our return home.
Olive Alla Marchigiana
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 pound lean ground beef or veal
1/4 pound lean pork
1/4 ground chicken or turkey
1/2 cup meat or chicken stock
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
80 large green olives
1 cup flour
1 cup dried bread crumbs
olive oil for deep frying
Let me begin by saying that the first thing that I did was seek out large green olives that were already pitted. The easiest thing to do is to buy ones that are already stuffed (I purchased ones stuffed with onions), remove the filling and then soak them in water for about an hour.
To make the filling heat 2 tablespoons oil in large saute pan over medium heat. add onion and saute until tender-8-10 minutes. Add meats and saute, breaking with fork until they start to color, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and cook until most of it is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Transfer to food processor and pulse until evenly ground. Add eggs, cheese, nutmeg and process until a smooth paste forms.
Spoon the filling into a pastry bag with a small plain tip and fill the pitted olives. You can prepare this up to 2 days ahead and refrigerate. To fry the olives, spread flour in one bowl, beat eggs into another and bread crumbs into the last one. Dip olives first in flour, then in eggs and finally in bread crumbs (at this point you can cover and refrigerate for up to a day).
Pour oil into a heavy heated sauce pan to a depth of 2-3 inches and heat to 350 degrees. Working in batches, carefully drop olives into oil and fry for about 4 minutes, until golden. Using a slotted spoon remove and drain on paper towels. I transfered them to a warm oven and held them there for about 15 minutes until my guests arrived.
Pop open the proseco and enjoy!