Thursday, April 05, 2007

Really Stuffed Sicilian Olives

sicilian olives

When I bought these Sicilian Olives I had a fixed idea of what I would do with them. Unfortunately (or fortunately) when the time came the olives just wouldn't behave as I thought they would.

My intention was to stone them and then fill the cavity with a mix of ricotta and Chèvre. They would then be crumbed and deep fried and served warm as a pre-dinner nibble.

Fine idea...except the olives defied all attempts to de-stone them. Next I tried the other trick of cutting the stone out but that just left me with slivers of olive.

My idea was stuffed and so were the olives.

It was time for a new approach and a bit like Dr Frankenstein I decided to build my own olive - formed from the olive parts and my original stuffing idea. I would then roll this into olive shapes and crumb and fry as planned.

By Jove it worked - I couldn't believe they weren't olives!

stuffed

Stuffed Sicilian Olives

50 grams Sicilian olives (pitted weight), cut into small dice
50 grams Chevre
100 grams Ricotta (you must use real Ricotta)
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
fine breadcrumbs

Place the ricotta, olives and chevre in a bowl and mix well until it's thoroughly combined. While these proportions appealed to me, do taste the mixture and adjust to suit your own preference.

Roll small portions of the mix into olive sized balls.

Once all the olives are made, roll them in the egg-wash and then coat them in the breadcrumbs. Repeat the process to give them a more sturdy outer coating.

Place the crumbed olives in the fridge to firm up.

To fry:
I use a small saucepan filled with about an 1-2 inches of olive oil. Fry the balls in small batches being careful not to overcrowd the pan. You just want to cook them until they are lightly golden.

Drain well on paper towels and serve immediately.

bite

These have cooled a little so but when eaten while still hot the interior is wonderfully soft and oozes - a great contrast to the crisp shell.

They might not have been what I had intended but a most satisfying result all the same.

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15 comments:

  1. Wow, now THAT'S perseverence. Are these the Olive Ascolane I keep hearing about?

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  2. they certainly did work, in spades! wow i just love this idea, so creative and i can imagine how delicious. are these olives cured or are they the mild italian ones?

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  3. You fry things more perfectly than anyone I know. Seriously, I thought that about your felafel and fritters, now another beautiful example.

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  4. What a great idea. I certainly agree with Mercedes; whatever you fry looks just perfect!

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  5. These look so, so tasty! And I agree with the majority...with frying - you are a genius!

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  6. It's always lovely to hear how other people deal with their kitchen dramas and you certainly seem to handle them brilliantly! What a great final product :)

    So what is your secret to perfect frying?

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  7. I found a great way to stone olives but unfortunately it renders them imperfect and certainly not suitable for stuffing. At cooking school I learnt to bash them over the head with a meat tenderising mallet - the stone comes right out with ease then.
    I wonder how they do it commercially? Those pimento/almond/garlic/etc stuffed olives always look so perfect!

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  8. On the last season of Top Chef, either Sam or Ilan (don't remember which) said that Marcel showed him how to pit an olive by forcing it through a funnel. I can't personally see how that would work, but now that my interest is re-piqued, I'm gonna have to go buy a funnel and some olives...

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  9. Hi Susan - they do look similiar to the Ascolane olives but the ones are a lot smaller. They could very well be the same variety and the difference due to geographical reasons. I will check and find out.

    Thanks Aria - they are cured olives and even though they are green have quite a subtle flavour.

    Thanks Mercedes and Burcu and Chris and Truffle - when it comes to deep frying or shallow frying the most important thing is the temperature of the oil.

    I tend to also fry using small saucepans rather than a large deep fryer - it forces you to fry in smaller batches. I find it gives me more control over the temperature and by just swirling the pan I'm able to get an even colouring. It also uses a lot less oil - nothing worse than stale oil.

    Hi Sam - that's a great method for garlic and for getting out all frustrations. My mistake was in thinking these would be as easy to pit as Kalamata's and obviously they aren't - it's probably very much like the difference between clingstone peaches and freestones, I'm sure olives are the same. The stuffed olives most likely use a variety with a "loose stone".

    Hi Vicki - I can kinda see how the funnel works, you'd need to choose a funnel whose width was just wider than the olive stone and I'd assume the olive would have to be fairly large. Certainly will be interesting to see how that works.

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  10. These look soooo tasty! I could go for a handle right now, with a glass of something cold and sparkly :)
    I've had to pit olives like that before... but can't remember what we did to get the stones out without hurting the olive too much.

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  11. Thanks Y - I'll join you in that cold sparkly drink!

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  12. I tried these tonight for a pre dinner nibble and it was great! Thanks for another great recipe. your pictures are perfection.

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  13. Thanks Helene that's great - I'm so happy to know that they were enjoyed!

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  14. This is the ultimate finger food, Haalo - delicious!

    I can't wait to try them, I'll do it asap!

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  15. Thanks Patricia - I do hope you enjoy them!

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