Olive all’Ascolana (Ascoli style deep-fried stuffed olives) are among the most well-known Italian dishes in the culinary world, and beyond! The name comes from the marvellous city of Ascoli Piceno and the recipe dates back to as early as 1800. They are a type of delicious fried, breaded meatballs with olives which are simple to prepare. And once you’ve tasted one, it’s impossible to stop. Mom Gabri and family are smitten, even with the less traditional version with a fish stuffing. How are they made? Read below:
circa 300 g drained and rinsed Ascolane olives
circa 300 g ground meats (beef, pork, chicken)
30 g breadcrumbs
50 g grated Grana Padano cheese (similar to Parmesan)
1 small carrot
1 small celery branch
1 cup white wine
nutmeg and clove to taste
salt to taste
1 lemon peel
2 medium-size eggs
(superfine) 00 flour as necessary
breadcrumbs as necessary
The original recipe calls for frying in extra virgin olive oil.
1. Mince the onion, carrot, and celery. Sauté in little olive oil, adding the meat after a few minutes. Make sure you brown the meat well and then add the nutmeg, minced clove (whole cloves should be removed when the mixture is completely sautéd), salt and the white wine to finish.
2. While waiting for the wine to evaporate, pit the olives with a paring knife, being careful not to cut through the pulp, or waste any clinging to the pit, as you cut around in a spiral, down from the stem.
3. When the meat is cooked put the mixture in a mixing bowl. Blend the breadcrumbs, lemon peel, grana padano, and the egg into the meat. Be sure the mixture remains soft.
4. The only thing left to do now is form the meatballs! You must try and reproduce the original olive shape, filling your spiral with the stuffing, rolling it into a homogenous, elliptical-shaped ball.
5. Now you are ready for the last step: breading. First, roll the balls in flour, then dip it into the egg batter, and finally roll in the breadcrumbs. A second dip in the eggs and then another roll in the breadcrumbs will give a crunchier breading.
6. Heat the frying oil and fry, turning occasionally, until an even golden brown.
AND… BUON APPETITO!