Chuck Hughes' scrumptious deep fried stuffed olives are a bar snack that can't be beat.
For the olives: Place the olives in a bowl and cover over with water. While preparing the stuffings, let them soak about 30 minutes to remove the excess salt. Drain the water, rinse the olives and dry completely with a paper towel.
For the stuffings: In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and cook the shallots. Add the ground veal, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook about 5 minutes. Add the veal stock and continue to cook over medium heat until the liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Transfer the veal mixture to a bowl. Add the Parmesan, parsley, breadcrumbs and egg. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix together and set aside.
To assemble: Starting from the end (opposite the hole on top), cut the olive away from the pit in a spiral, as if you're peeling an apple. The olive will coil. Place the olive meat in a bowl.
Pinch a bit of the veal mixture between your thumb and forefinger and roll into a small ball. Shape the olive meat from half the olives around the filling, so the olive regains its original shape. Place on a baking tray, cover with plastic wrap and set aside. Proceed the same way for remaining olives and the gorgonzola cheese.
Coat the olives lightly in flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. To avoid the stuffing from seeping out, repeat the process twice to get a thick breading. Set aside.
Pour the olive oil into a medium frying pan and heat until the oil bubbles. Fry the olives until the breading is golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Serve the olives while warm.
You can try other fillings like feta or smooth goat cheese mixed with lemon zest, garlic and basil. You can also add crushed pine nuts to the cheese or meat mixture. For a vegetarian version, try chickpea in puree, basil, olive oil and lemon or orange zests.
Recipe courtesy of Chuck Hughes