Ascolane Olives

By / Food / August 2nd, 2013 / 1

Here’s a wonderfully delicious treat that looks a lot more difficult to make than it actually is. Ascolane Olives are olives stuffed, breaded and deep-fried. The ‘Ascolane’ refers to the region in which they were invented, and in which these types of olives are grown. Ascoli Piceno is in Le Marche, but these olive trees and this stuffed olive snack and appetizer are also found throughout Abruzzi, too. Ascolane olives are green, large and softer than other types of olives. I’m not sure of the process of preparing these olives for eating, but I’m almost positive they’re not brined. If they were, that vinegar taste would come through. Instead the combined flavours of the breading, olive and stuffing are what shine through. The stuffing can be made from meat, seafood or just vegetables, depending entirely on the cook’s preference.

I had a craving for these little bites recently and decided to try to re-create them. The first obstacle I ran into was finding the olives, themselves. I can’t say that Ascolane olives aren’t to be found anywhere in Canada, but I certainly couldn’t find any in my general area. I tried using brined, pitted green olives for my first batch. Unfortunately, the brininess came through loud and clear, obliterating any other flavours. So, for my second attempt, I bought canned pitted olives that were sealed in water. The second obstacle I ran into was that the grocery store I went to was completely out of green olives. No problem. Even though traditionally, green olives are always used, I decided to try using the black ones. Given that these were packed in water, I didn’t have to worry about a strong taste overwhelming any of the other ingredients.

I trolled the Italian recipe websites to get some inkling into what might go into the filling. I discovered that there are as many variations to the filling as there are recipes. So, although I’ve given you a recipe below (tweaked to my own tastes), feel free to make it your own.

In the end, the ones I made weren’t quite like those I had in Italy. But, they were very tasty nonetheless. Winners, I’d say. I will definitely make these again anytime I have company or when I happen to need some great travelling food. The only change I’d make next time is to try using green olives.

One tip: The Ascolane olives you find in Italy, whether at a restaurant, food truck or in someone’s home, have been pitted in a very particular way. Cook’s across the pond prefer to pare away the olive from the pit. By doing it that way, the olives end up in a spiral shape, making stuffing them considerably easier. I chose to use pitted olives. Then I slit each one down the side, opened the olives carefully and stuffed them. I found that it was actually a very quick production.

Ascolane Olives

Rating: 51

This recipe makes a lot! Buy many cans of olives, or make patties with the remaining filling.


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g beef
  • 100g veal
  • 100g chicken
  • 1/2 onions, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Pinch cloves
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Zest from half a lemon
  • 1 egg
  • 30g bread crumbs
  • Flour
  • Egg
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Pitted Green Olives
  • Oil for deep-frying


  1. Heat olive oil. Sauté beef, veal and chicken. Add onions, carrot and celery. Season with salt. Once the meat has browned and vegetables have softened. Add wine, and simmer until reduced by half. Pour meat mixture into a meat grinder or food processor. Process until the mixture has turned into a paste.
  2. Remove paste to a bowl. Add cloves, nutmeg, lemon zest, egg and bread crumbs. Stir until well combined.
  3. Place flour, egg and bread crumbs into 3 separate bowls.
  4. Prepare olives by cutting a slit from top to bottom, so that the olive can be opened easily.
  5. Pinch a bit of filling with fingers. Carefully stuff each olive; set aside.
  6. Once all the olives have been stuffed, roll each one first into the flour, then into the egg and finally into the bread crumbs; set aside.
  7. Once all the olives have been prepared, drop a few at a time into hot oil. Fry for 2-4 minutes, until olives are very lightly browned. Drain on paper towels. Enjoy warm or cold.

Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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