OliveĀ all'Ascolana

February 12, 2010
4 Ratings
  • Serves 2 dozen
Author Notes

I am an olive fiend, and for me, this dish is the ultimate snack food. Olives, stuffed with a savory goat cheese, breaded and fried until crisp, and topped with a shaving of sharp cheese, lemon zest, and a spritz of lemon. I do hope you like them! - arielleclementine —arielleclementine

Test Kitchen Notes

This high-low snack can work just as easily for a movie snack as it can for a dinner party hors d'oeuvres. These crunchy little flavor bombs come out of the hot oil looking like hedgehogs with a shaggy brown coating of panko. Inside is a layer of tangy olive and then rosemary-and-dried chile scented goat cheese. They hold up well, so you can fry them up to an hour in advance; just keep them warm in a low oven. And chill some prosecco. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 24 large green olives, pitted
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (fresh or panko)
  • 1/3 cup parmigiano reggiano, or similar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • parmigiano reggiano, for sprinkling
  • zest and juice from one lemon, for sprinkling
  1. In a small bowl, mix the goat cheese, mustard seed, rosemary, chile flakes, and garlic. Stuff the olives with the cheese mixture (I like to use my fingers, but you could also use a piping bag if you're really classy). Put the stuffed olives on a plate and refrigerate for 20 minutes, to let the cheese firm up.
  2. While the olives are chilling, heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan to 375 degrees.
  3. Set up three plates for your breading station. Put the flour on one plate, the beaten egg on the next, and mix the bread crumbs and cheese on the last plate.
  4. When the olives have chilled, roll half of them in the flour, then in the egg, then in the bread crumbs and carefully drop them into the heated oil. Fry until golden brown, about one minute per side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain, and repeat with the remaining olives.
  5. Pile on a plate and finish with a shower of freshly grated cheese and lemon zest and a spritz of lemon.
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  • betty888
I have always loved food. My favorite books as a kid always featured food (eg. The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies- so much candy!) and I loved cooking shows like Yan Can Cook and The Frugal Gourmet. I started cooking the Thanksgiving dinner for my family when I was 13 years old. I have food52 to thank for inspiring me to come up with my own recipes, as well as for introducing me to a community of fantastic cooks and their amazing recipes. I try my best to cook locally and seasonally, and I tend to prefer straightforward, simple recipes where the ingredients get to shine. I live in wonderful Austin, Texas with my husband, Andy (a video game programmer) and my son, Henry (an 8-month-old who loves to eat).

71 Reviews

Emily October 26, 2017
Is it possible to bake these instead of fry them?
nancy E. June 14, 2014
Please Arielle, I made these last night and though very delicious, only about 1/2 of the olive was breaded and the rest bald. How in the world do you get the breading to hold. Do you leave on the packing oil before the flour? Do you score the slippery surface? Please let me know as this is something I want to master
Dwayne J. March 16, 2014
I just made these and my husband and I love them! Goes wonderful with a martini! Thank you!
Kitspy March 9, 2014
I ate these almost every day during my time in Ascoli Piceno. Bought from Migliori's and served in a paper cone, I savored them outside in the warm summer air. While these are a bit different with the goat cheese filling, I'm looking forward to having a taste of that summer again.
Pam D. December 15, 2013
cucina D. September 10, 2013
Love this recipe! Thanks so much for showing me how to recreate this at home for my famiglia which I will be doing very soon.
rederin January 1, 2013
Made these for a New Year's Eve party. Yum! Everyone wanted to help fry them, so it was fun to cook, too. Even my husband loved them, and he isn't an olive guy. Mine didn't turn out as pretty as yours, but they sure tasted great. I had a hard time getting them breaded uniformly.
betty888 February 26, 2012
I made these for a dinner party last night and my guests LOVED them (also made the creamy stuffed mushrooms). I made over 30 olives and I still had a little filling left over - which will be great on crackers. I used a pastry bag to pipe in the filing. I am not experienced at frying - the first few olives fell apart so I increased the heat and did not touch them until they were really brown on one side before flipping. Perfection. Per other posters, you can make these ahead of time and throw them in a low oven to keep warm - they actually held all evening. I put the remaining (3) olives in the fridge and had them for breakfast. Even without re-heating the breading held. Will definitely make again - the only change might be to make the holes in the olives larger (per another poster's suggestion) to accommodate more filling.
arielleclementine February 27, 2012
thanks betty888! thrilled you liked them, and thanks so much for your helpful suggestions!
betty888 April 29, 2012
I made these a second time last night, this time for a vegetarian crowd. A huge hit yet again! Big fan. :)
arielleclementine April 30, 2012
so sweet of you, betty888- i'm thrilled that you and your friends enjoyed them!
Adam E. December 19, 2011
I served these yesterday at my Christmas party, and they were a hit. Still delicious at room temperature, and the lemon zest at the end really makes the dish. Thanks for a great recipe!
arielleclementine December 28, 2011
oh thank you! so happy you liked them! i agree about the lemon zest- it helps perk everything up :)
micook July 5, 2011
I'm back with another report because I am making these regularly. We had quite a few left over the other night and I tossed them into a baggie and reheated them in a warm toaster oven the next day. Frankly, they weren't noticeably different than after being held in a warming oven for an hour. In other words, the coating held well, they weren't greasy . . . we downed them pretty easily!
micook April 22, 2011
I made these for friends last month and did let them sit in a warm (165 degrees) oven for probably close to an hour and they were fine. In fact, I'm going to make them for Easter and plan to do the same. Actually, I had leftover ones on the counter and they were still very tasty the next day at room temperature, so I don't think you have to worry.
arielleclementine April 22, 2011
thanks for your kind feedback!
mjlandry April 22, 2011
Great! Thanks I look forward to making, eating & sharing. Can't think of a better combo.
mjlandry April 22, 2011
I want to make these to bring as an appetizer to an Easter party on Sunday. Will they get soggy if I fry them and then wait about an hour to serve? They look so yummy I can't wait to try!
arielleclementine April 22, 2011
i second micook's experience- i've happily eaten these an hour or more after cooking them. i hope you like them!
aricooks January 6, 2011! I am happy to report that I will be making this recipe from Israel, where the goat cheese and olives are abundant, delicious and (relatively) inexpensive. Thank you!
Amber March 21, 2010
My husband's family is from this region in Italy (don't ask me to spell it), so making the fried olives is a family tradition. They would be surprised by a goat cheese stuffing (since they are usually made with ground meat or fish), but this sounds delicious... and easier without the corkscrewing.

To simplify Wolfert's technique a little, we buy pitted large olives. Then you corkscrew the olive to maximize the amount of filling you can squeeze in. We usually use a combination of ground pork with garlic, sage and parmesan for stuffing. Then I bread them in fresh breadcrumbs, because I find panko is more likely to fall off when you deep fry them.
EmilyNunn February 25, 2010
yes! Congrats. Olives were our friends. Now, they are our very good friends.
arielleclementine February 25, 2010
haha! so cute! anything fried is definitely my friend.
pierino February 25, 2010
Be careful what you wish for. Here in Arizona where I'm woefully stationed, they will deep fry anything including your hotel room pillow. And then they'll put sliced jalapenos on it with queso fresco. Thankfully they haven't figured out IED's yet.
Helenthenanny February 24, 2010
What the what?!? I thought I had this one in the bag!!! I was ROBBED!!! My victory was supposed to taste like BACON!!!! Sorest. Loser. EVER. Family rift starts now.
arielleclementine February 24, 2010
are you going to stab a fork in my forehead?
Helenthenanny February 24, 2010
sleep with one eye open.
arielleclementine February 24, 2010
i guess i will, girl-with-keys-to-my-house...
mrslarkin February 24, 2010
uh-boy. She sounds like trouble. Arielleclementine, you'd better send Helen some bacon right quick, to appease the monster.
MyCommunalTable February 24, 2010
My son was just visiting from overseas and will back for good in August. He made me promise to make these for him when he gets back. I think the comment of "deep fried goodness" that sealed the deal for him. Congrats. Obviously your family cooks like ours.
arielleclementine February 24, 2010
oh wow! how kind- thank you for sharing that with me! happy travels to your son- i hope you both like the olives :)
TheWimpyVegetarian February 24, 2010
It really was a tough choice this week between the two of you! They are both great snacks - the olives ultimately won me over and I'm sending you a huge well-deserved congrats!!! Both you and your sister turned out great snacks for us to enjoy all week. Very fun for everyone.
arielleclementine February 24, 2010
thank you so much! i'm very lucky to have a sister like her :)
nannydeb February 24, 2010
Congratulations! You and your sister are both awesome!
arielleclementine February 24, 2010
thank you! helen is truly wonderful :)
Food B. February 22, 2010
What a fabulous recipe! I can't wait to try it.
arielleclementine February 22, 2010
oh boy! thank you, Food Blogga!!