Chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s Fried Olives with Spicy Yogurt ~ are you ready for a new taste sensation? The olives are crispy on the outside, warm and juicy inside, the yogurt is cool and creamy, and the herb sauce is zesty.
Oh gosh, where to start? Should I start with the FRIED OLIVES? Because fried olives are the food of the gods…if you haven’t tried them you need to get to it asap. Or should I mention that the spicy herb sauce mingles with the creamy yogurt and simultaneously burns and cools the palate? OR that this is a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Plenty More, by the great Ottolenghi? Any one of these factors should make you want to run to your kitchen.
Don’t be afraid of frying the olives, you can do it with a couple of inches of oil in a small saucepan, it’s not a big deal.
Even though they’re fried, the olives don’t really absorb much oil, and there’s no heavy batter to soak it in either, so they’re not so bad as far as fried food goes. Once you try this you’re going to want to make them all the time
It’s always fun to offer friends and family something they’ve never had before, and you can be guaranteed of that with this wonderful appetizer.
This recipe is super simple. It’s basically just yogurt swirled with a simple herb salsa, and topped off with the warm fried olives. Be sure to use a thick Greek style yogurt for the best texture.
I like to make the olives and the sauce in the morning. I reheat the olives and assemble the yogurt just before serving. DO NOT assemble the dish until ready to serve, or the olives will not be crisp and the yogurt will get watery. When you’re ready to eat you can just go in with your hands or serve this with some torn flatbread or pita.
TIP: Ottolenghi’s recipe calls for preserved lemons…I didn’t have any so I substituted simple lemon juice. But if you like the idea, you can make your own with my recipe for PRESERVED LEMONS.
*Recipe slightly adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More
- 1 hot green chile pepper, cut in several pieces, seeds and all (I used a large jalapeno)
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1 large handful fresh cilantro leaves (a heaping cup)
- 1 large handful fresh parsley leaves (a heaping cup)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
- 14 ounce can of pitted green olives, drained
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used half regular and half panko)
- vegetable oil for frying
- To make the spicy herb sauce, put the chile, cardamom, cloves, sugar, cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. The herbs will just about fill the canister. Pulse until you get a chunky salsa.
- Put about 2 inches of oil in a small saucepan.
- Set up a breading station for your olives. Put the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs into 3 bowls. Dry the olives on a clean kitchen towel.
- Dredge the olives, one by one, in the flour, then into the eggs, and finally into the breadcrumbs. make sure they get well coated. Set aside on a plate.
- Heat the oil on medium to medium high heat until hot. Drop a test olive in ~ it should fry to golden in a minute or slightly less. If it gets too dark too quickly, or takes too long to get brown, adjust the heat accordingly.
- Fry the olives, 6 or so at a time, until golden brown. Flip them around in the oil gently so they cook evenly. Set on a paper towel to drain.
- Put the yogurt into a shallow serving bowl. Add the salsa and swirl together. Top with the warm fried olives and serve with pita bread or flatbread.
- Be sure to use pitted olives. Don’t use stuffed olives, the stuffing will protrude in a gross way when the olives are fried, just saying.
- You can make the olives ahead. If you want to reheat them, put them on a baking sheet in a 350F oven until warmed through. Don’t reheat in the microwave or they will not be crisp.