Olive Ascolane

Olive AscolaneTo be completely honest, I can’t believe I actually managed to make these. Olive ascolane are a traditional Italian food from le Marche, but which are everywhere in Rome as well. One of the best parts of going to Italian restaurants used to be ordering ridiculous amounts of these and supplí for antipasti (unfortunately olive ascolane are by no means vegan, so I hadn’t even eaten one in more than a year now), and I have missed them quite a bit. So I was really very pleased with myself when I managed to make 72 of these yesterday, and not only that they tasted amazing when I made them yesterday, but that I froze 48 of them and they tasted just as good today! It took me 4 hours to make them all, but that’s only because I made 72, which is probably excessive for most people. Even just 3 or 4 of these, with a couple of supplí and some bruschetta, are more than enough for an extremely impressive (and tasty) antipasto.

For the filling

Ingredients (makes 20)

  • 100g vegan mince
  • 2 carrots, chopped very small
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped very small
  • ½ red onion, chopped very small
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ⅛ cup of flour
  • ¼ cup of nutritional yeast
  • ⅛ cup of breadcrumbs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil

Preparation (2 hours)

Drizzle some olive on a large pan and turn it on medium high heat. Add the onion, then after 3 minutes add the garlic. Keep stirring around, and after 2 minutes add the carrot. After 5 minutes add the celery, stir occasionally, and after 10 minutes, add the mince. Leave that on, simmering on medium low heat, for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, and add salt and pepper to taste. Once it’s ready, put it all in a large mixing bowl and wait a bit for it to cool, then add the flour, nutritional yeast, and breadcrumbs. Mix it all around and use your hands to knead it into a kind of dough. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.

For the rest

Ingredients

  • 1 jar of large green olives (if they’re already you will save a lot of time)
  • lots and lots of breadcrumbs
  • egg-substitute equivalent of 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 litres of vegetable oil

Preparation

While the dough is resting, carefully slice open ever olive until about halfway through the diameter. If they’re not pitted, then cut around the pit so you’re left with an olive without the pit which is open on one side. If they break into half it’s fine, but it does make it easier if you manage to leave one side together. Once the dough is finished take a very small amount of dough (about as big an amount as an olive), roll it into a little ball, and stuff it into the olive. It’s going to be popping out on one side, which is perfectly fine, as long as the entire thing vaguely resembles a sphere and is holds itself together. Once you’ve done that for all of the olives you’re making, take each stuffed olive, roll it around in flour, drop into the egg substitute, make sure it’s entirely covered, then cover with breadcrumbs. If you’re going to be freezing them, do so at this point. If not, leave them for to sit for another 30 minutes and then repeat the breading procedure to make sure they’re extra covered. At this point, heat up the vegetable oil, and, once at the right temperature for deep frying (the stove should be on about medium – high heat), drop them in. They should get cooked in about 10 minutes inside at the most, once they are, take them out and put them on a plate with paper towel on it to soak up the excess oil. Leave them there for about 2 minutes, then transfer to whatever serving dish you’re using and serve! These are truly delicious, and a real authentic bite from Italy.

If you froze them, once you’re ready to eat them just take them straight out of the freezer, cover them in egg substitute, then breadcrumbs, and deep fry. Trust me, they’ll taste just as good.

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