Are you ready? For a molten hot slightly spiced delight? With spiced sweet sausage and gorgeous bright green olives? Stuffed with homemade ricotta, some punchy sweet spicy sobrasada and some earthy sage?
I think you are ready.
These are good. This recipe is based loosely on Ascolane Olives, stuffed olives from the Ascole region in Italy, and usually stuffed with the likes of pork, veal, lard and parmesan. Spuntino in London do a lovely version with anchovies, parmesan and sage. In fact there is a lovely recipe for these in the Polpo Cookbook (a lovely book, and one I would heartily recommend for Italian food fans).
Mine are different. From my previous post you will have seen that I was in Spain last week, with the Olives from Spain folks. We visited olive groves in the sunshine and tasted many varieties from the large queen olives to the very small.
That, combined with a trip to the market in Sevilla the next day was exciting and inspiring. Ideas flooded as I hopped from stall to stall, wanting to buy far more than I could ever take home. As I stood there with some Spanish queen olives in my hand and eyed the sobrasada (in the UK you can buy it from Brindisa too), I decided to make a Spanish version of the Ascolane when I got home.
Home made ricotta is something that I make regularly. The recipe is in my book and I include a version below. Why make it at home? It is so delicious, rich and creamy. It is ridiculously easy too. Just try it, and you will keep making it too.
The light creaminess of the cheese with the rich sauciness of the sobrasada (and I mean saucy in the bold way), all held together with some earthy sage, makes a terrific stuffing for the lovely delicate queen olive.
Enjoy! And do let me know how you get on with it.
Note: use fine dry breadcrumbs, if making your own be sure to toast them in a medium oven for about 10 minutes. Dry breadcrumbs stick and clump less. Feel free to substitute (good) shop bought ricotta if you can’t be bothered. The ricotta recipe will make more than you need but you won’t be sad about that.
RECIPE: Fried Spanish Queen Olives Stuffed with Sobrasada, Homemade Ricotta & Sage
1 litre full fat milk
pinch of sea salt
juice of 2 lemons
muslin to drain the cheese and a colander
16 large pitted green olives – mine are Spanish queen ones from Brindisa
12 large sage leaves and extra to serve
pinch sea salt
3 bowls containing: one containing 1 egg, beaten; one containing plain flour; one containing breadcrumbs
oil to fry the olives, I actually used Iberico lard but this is hard to come by
Make your ricotta by bringing your milk and cream with the salt to 90 deg C (just before it boils if you have no thermometer). Take off the heat and add the lemon juice. The curds and whey will split (if not add more lemon juice). Strain through a muslin lined colander and leave to sit for a couple of hours to drain.
Weigh out 100g and mash with the sobrasada and shredded sage leaves. Season with sea salt and fill each olive. The easiest way is with a syringe. I used the end of a small teaspoon. This is fiddly but take your time, it is worth doing properly.
Breadcrumb by dipping the stuffed olives in the flour, then the egg, and then the breadcrumbs. If the breadcrumbs aren’t fully coating the olive, dip in the egg and breadcrumbs again.
Heat enough oil / lard to cover the olives and when a piece of bread starts to fizz and brown on addition, add the olives and fry for a minute or two until golden brown. Drain on kitchen roll. Add the extra sage leaves for 30 seconds or so until they crisp. So delicious! Use these to decorate (and eat).
Serve hot and be careful not to burn yourself as the filling can sometimes escape through the bottom.