I don’t know a single person who feels lukewarm about olives– my boyfriend, for example, absolutely hates them, and I really love them and always try to sneak them (and artichokes, one of his other many food foes) into Mediterranean dishes without him noticing. There’s no fooling him; he always picks them out. My brother loves olives, my mom loves olives, my old roommate hates them. Every person I’ve ever talked to about the subject (which is more people than you’d probably expect) always rests firmly at one pole of the olive-enjoyment scale. But there was a time– a moment that should go down in the history books– I kind of got an olive-hater to enjoy them. The extra olive-y green ones, at that.
I can’t really pretend it was that big of a feat, I suppose, because I fried them. (Let’s be honest, what doesn’t taste great after you fry it?) Still, I got James, the olive-hating king, to eat several of these super sour and salty little snacks. He kept complaining about the fact that they were olives, but he also kept eating them, so I consider that to be a victory. It counts, right? It counts.
But I assume you’re here, reading this post, because you like olives. And fried things. And sausage and goat cheese. And you might be salivating at this very second just thinking about it. I bet you are, and I’m right there with you, pal.
Now, if you do love olives, there’s really no other choice but to make these as soon as possible. In fact, you may want to drop everything you’re doing (you’re only browsing the internet right now, after all) and go pick up a bottle of wine, some cheese, some meat, and the ingredients for these tasty Italian treats and go to town with your own little picnic spread, like I did. Or you can just make the olives, because they’re the star of the show anyway. These olives go perfectly with a good martini or a beer, too, so they’re also great for cocktail parties. If serving the olives with beer, try out an array of types, such as hefeweizen to cut the sourness, fruity beer to accentuate the undertones of the olives, pilsner, pale ale, or IPA to work with the spiciness of the sausage and fried flavor– you can really have fun with this one! Just make sure that you make enough for everyone, and if you are making these for a party or event, I suggest stuffing them a day earlier, wrapping, and letting them sit in the fridge to avoid any last-minute scrambling.
- 1 Italian sausage, casing removed
- 3 tablespoons goat cheese
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- ½ teaspoon lemon peel, grated
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 30 large green olives, pitted (such as Cerignola)
- ¾ cup breadcrumbs
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients and mix until well-combined
- Roll a pinch of the mixture between your thumb and your forefinger and then stuff the ball into the pitted olive. Push the stuffing in to tightly pack and add more if necessary. Continue with all of the olives.
- Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the breadcrumbs onto a rimmed baking sheet. Place the leftover breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl, place the flour in another shallow bowl, and place the egg and teaspoon of water in a third shallow bowl and whisk to combine.
- Roll each olive in the flour, then dip in the beaten egg to coat, and then roll in the breadcrumbs until fully covered.
- Place the breaded olives on the baking sheet, cover, and refrigerate until ready to fry.
- In a heavy, large saucepan or deep-fryer, add the vegetable oil until a depth of 3 inches is reached. When the oil has heated and begins to bubble slightly, carefully add the olives– about 8 or so in a batch.
- Cook them for about 5-7 minutes, or until the exterior reaches a deep golden brown and the sausage inside is cooked. Carefully remove the olives from the oil using a slotted spoon and set them on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Repeat with the next batch of olives until all olives have been fried.
- Let the olives cool for 10 minutes and serve.