Thursday, May 20, 2010

An appetizer out of the cupboard:
Fried anchovy-stuffed olives

I'm a sort of a Girl Scout when it comes to the front end of meals, the appetizer: I like to be prepared. (Or was that Boy Scouts? I don't know—I was a Campfire Girl). Point is I often go to bed thinking about desserts and wake up in the middle of the night for a little meal planning but relegate appetizers to an afterthought. So I try to have on hand a good supply of items in my cupboard and freezer that can be whipped into a tasty bite or two. I certainly don't serve appetizers before regular weeknight dinners, but an appetizer and a cocktail are required for the Domino, Scrabble, or Flinch game on the kitchen table that precedes Sunday dinner at our house.

This past weekend I turned my shopping attention to the fried anchovy-stuffed olives in my spring kitchen to-do list. I always have anchovies on hand (useful in puttanesca sauce, one of my weeknight go-to meals) and bread crumbs (useful for all sorts of things) on hand. But while there is almost always a jar of Kalamata olives in my fridge, I needed to search for and buy the green olives I have seen in this dish. I bypassed the fancy expensive ones sold by the pound at my local fancy expensive market since most of them already had something stuffed in them. I thought unstuffing and restuffing would be stupid. And I didn't want olives cured in a vinegar since I thought that flavor would complete with the anchovy.

These green olives in a can by the same company that makes the black ones we all ate off them ends of our fingers when we were little turned out to be the least expensive option and the perfect choice.

After reading nearly a dozen recipes for this dish, I combined bits of several to approximate what I remember washing down with a dry martini at a zinc bar in a restaurant that went away.

I rinsed the anchovies and picked out as many of the little bones as I could. Whenever I do this, I think of my friend Eric, who says that anchovies remind him of eating an eyebrow.

I chopped them up with a little garlic and parsley.

I searched for the perfect tool with which to stuff the mixture into the olives and found them on the end of my hand. Messy but effective.

The stuffed olives traveled left to right through flour, beaten egg, and bread crumbs.

Here they are ready for their frying. No picture of that though—it happens pretty quickly. I rarely fry and hate the idea of throwing out a bunch of expensive olive oil, so I fried in a very small saucepan in a 50:50 mixture of olive and canola oils.

Success! Or as Sophie now says "booyah!" (I looked it up in an online urban slang dictionary—it means "good.")


1 6-oz. can of green olives
5–6 olive oil packed anchovies; rinsed, boned, and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. parsley, minced
1/2 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs
olive and canola oil for frying

Mince together anchovies, garlic, and parsley. Use fingers to stuff into olives. Coat olives in flour, then beaten egg, then breadcrumbs.

Heat 50:50 combination of olive and canola oil in a small saucepan. Oil should be deep enough to fully cover olives, about 1 inch. When oil starts to bubble, add the olives a few at a time. When golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve warm.
Tick that off the list, please. Booyah!


adozeneggs said...

Wow wow wow!
I wonder if you could have used a pastry bag with a med sized plain tip?? might have been neater.
I have to find a reason to make these.

Sis. Boom. said...

Fantastic! (And I love lists! Especially yours.) They seem so gourmet and sophisticated I must try them even though I'm not a huge olive fan. Adore anchovies, however.

Cindy said...

I thought about using a pasty bag but worried I would never get the anchovy smell out. Anchovy buttercream, anyone? If I were making these in a larger batch and more often, I might designate a dedicated anchovy bag.

gwendomama said...

I believe I would prefer 'something else'-stuffed olives, not being a fan of small canned fish products. But hmmmm....olive stuffed olives? I smell potential.

Cindy said...

I've seen some recipes for other filling like sausage. And I'm thinking cheese might work if you chilled the stuffed olives first so the cheese could withstand the frying. And how about a piece of garlic clove? You would just have to make sure that everyone with you ate one.

carolyn said...

I'll bring the cocktails if you serve ME these!!

Jen Yu said...

I have been sucking at the commenting, but I do read! I love this recipe - it sounds so damn good. And I'm making your limoncello. I just wish I could find a way to speed time up FOR THAT JAR. 60 more days to go... xoxoxoxoxoxoxo!!!

adozeneggs said...

get some disposable bags. I know it's not so earth friendly, but you'd only be using them for super stinky anchovies and garlic filling.

Mary Coleman said...

oh hell yeah!!! outstanding!!!!

ladyjanebalboa said...

Goya makes anchovy stuffed olives. They come in a can.

cindy said...

I finally discovered them! Makes this appetizer a lot easier!