Italian Regional Recipes Starters

Olive all’Ascolana, Meat-Stuffed Fried Green Olives

Olive all’Ascolana, stuffed fried green olives, a typical recipe from the region Le Marche, Central Italy, in particular from the town of Ascoli Piceno from which they take the name ‘ascolane’. It is a recipe that has its roots in the ‘800.
They are served as a starter or even as an aperitif, such as a very popular finger-food throughout Italy. Together with other fried foods they are part of “fritto misto all’italiana“. The meat used is pork and beef, sometimes chicken.

Which olives are used? Only the green ones and if you have the typical ones from Ascoli, oh well, even better.


If you want to stick to tradition: pitted the olives starting from the top with a knife, turning to form a spiral, remove the stone, the cavity left by the stone is filled with minced meat, then roll back the olive around the meat as to form a fatty olive. This is the typical preparation, it requires manual skills, experience, time and patient.

Smart alternatives: pitting them by cutting them in half and extract the core or use those one already pitted.

Serves 5-6, Preparation time 1 h, Cooking time 30 mins

  • 600 g green olives, pitted or unpitted
  • 200 g lean ground beef
  • 200 g lean ground pork
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 celery stalk
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Peanuts Oil, at least 1 lt for deep-frying
  • dry white wine, 1 glass
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 eggs: 1 yolks and 2 whole eggs
  • Nutmeg, a pinch
  • 80 g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • breadcrumbs, to taste
  • White flour/All-Purpose flour to taste

Method

Usually the meat pulp is cut into pieces, seasoned in a pan and then minced in a meat grinder. Not to mention using already minced meat is definitely a help.

Prepare a soffritto by frying up for a couple of mins diced carrot, onion and celery in a non-stick frying pan with 3 tbsp of Evoo, then add minced meats, blend with white wine to which you add – once the meat is cold – nutmeg, egg yolk and grated Parmigiano cheese, stir well all together and set aside.

Tip: small amounts of grated lemon zest and cloves are also allowed in the filling.

Start to fill each olive with the meat mixture.

Prepare three different bowls: beaten eggs, flour, breadcrumbs.

Flour the stuffed olives, then dip them in the beaten eggs, drain them and breading.

Heat plenty of Evoo or Peanuts Oil oil, fry the breaded olives until golden.

Tip: do not fry them all together, max 4 at a time. In this way the temperature of the oil will not drop and the fry will be dry. The oil must be abundant, the olives have to be completely oil-covered.

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