Fried Olives are the best little appetizers in the world ~ they’re crisp on the outside, warm and juicy on the inside ~ dip them in a little garlicky aioli and you’ll be in heaven, guaranteed!
My husband is a people watcher. Me, not so much. So when we go out for the occasional date night or drink, I always look for a cozy booth in the corner, while he’ll go right for the table in the middle of it all, especially when it’s a hot new place like the one we were at last night. This is the man who spent the better part of one of our anniversary dinners with his eyes riveted on the next table over… at Marlon Brando. It’s an occupational hazard of living in Los Angeles. and it has played out over and over again throughout the years, with sightings from the sublime to the ridiculous. But I digress…my point was that we had these fried olives last night and they are AMAZING. Definitely worth the all-caps effect there, trust me.
This wonderful appetizer is put together straight from pantry staples. You’ll need a jar of small pitted olives, you can use stuffed or unstuffed. I’ve made both, but I think I prefer the stuffed, it adds a little extra flavor dimension. The olives get dredged in flour, then doused in a buttermilk or a beaten egg, and then dredged a second time in breadcrumbs. This double dunking is a little messy, but insures a perfect crisp crust.
Something transformative happens to an olive when you fry it. No kidding, these will surprise you, they are fabulous. They make the perfect cocktail nibbles, and I think it’s always nice to serve people something they haven’t necessarily had a million times before.
Unlike most fried foods, these olives reheat beautifully in a 350F oven — that’s HUGE! That means you can make them ahead and easily reheat as friends arrive. And, if you can salvage any leftovers, you can enjoy them the next day, I even microwaved them and they were great.
- 1 5 1/2 oz jar of small pitted green olives (or pimento stuffed olives)
- 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 egg, well beaten, or 1/2 cup buttermilk
- vegetable oil for frying
- Parmesan cheese for garnishing (optional)
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a heavy bottomed pot heat a couple of inches of vegetable oil until it reaches 325-350 degrees on a thermometer.
- While it is heating, set out the flour in a pie plate or shallow dish, and the breadcrumbs in another. Put the beaten egg or the buttermilk in a small bowl
- Dredge the olives in the flour, and then into the beaten egg or buttermilk.
- Toss them into the breadcrumbs and make sure they get evenly coated.
- Fry the olives in the hot oil until they are golden, this will take about a minute and a half. Do this in batches so the oil doesn't cool down when you add the olives.
- Drain the olives on a paper towel, and serve hot. Toothpicks help with the dipping.
- To make the aioli whisk together all the ingredients.
- The olives can be reheated by putting in a 350F oven for a few minutes. They can even be briefly microwaved.
- Can you use any kind of olive? Probably, as long as they’re pitted, but I think a small green olive works best because it gives you just the right size bite and the flavor isn’t overpowering. Stuffed or unstuffed works.
- Can you bake these? I suppose it’s possible, I haven’t tried. Let me know if you try. If you don’t like fried foods you might check out one of my healtheir roasted olive recipes instead, here, and here.
- Can you make these ahead? Yes! Make them earlier in the day and right before you want to serve them pop them into a 350F oven for a few minutes until they’re sizzling.
- I don’t have a thermometer, can I still make these? Yes, but the oil has to be hot enough. To test it, drop an olive in, it should sizzle right away and fry to golden in about a minute to a minute and a half. And get an oven thermometer, they are really cheap.
This recipe originally appeared on October 19, 2012. I have updated the recipe and photos. Why? Because these are so damn good!