Crispy Olives Stuffed with Fennel Sausage
Drinking a great beer... an icy cold, delicious beer is a great thing, right? But you know what makes it even better? Bar snacks! So what do you think of when you think of bar snacks? Pretzels? Peanuts? Yes, those work, but what about something a bit more interesting? If you're having some friends over for some cold beers and conversation, think about whipping up a couple different finger foods to have sitting out that everyone can snack on. I suggest making these olives one of those snacks. They taste delicious served hot, however I actually enjoyed them more once they cooled down to room temperature. They stay crispy, even when they cool off, and I think you can taste all the different layers of flavor a little easier after they've cooled down. And maybe the best thing about these olives, is that they are ridiculously easy to make. Here's how ya do it:
This recipe was found in the Food Network Favorites cookbook, which is actually a really good cookbook. If you don't already own it, I would recommend picking it up. I'm pretty sure it's a couple years old now, so it's not very expensive. There are a lot of good recipes in there from celebrity chefs like Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, Michael Chiarello (recipes of which include this olive recipe), and many others.
Ok, so the first thing you do to make this crispy, salty snack is to heat your deep fryer to 370 degrees. Next, pit the olives or if you have pimento-stuffed green olives like I did, remove the pimentos. I saved the pimentos to use on another day. Maybe I'll make pimento cheese?
Once you've removed the pimentos from the olives, they are ready to be stuffed with your sausage of choice. We used some of Mark's homemade pork fennel sausage. You can only fit a tiny bit of sausage in each olive, so you won't need much. Also, I want to add that I simplified this recipe even more than it already is by just stuffing the as-is sausage into the olives, rather than spiking it with additional garlic and red pepper flake. Either way would be good, but this wasn't the only thing I was making last night, so I wanted to get them done quickly. So here are the olives after they've been stuffed with the sausage:
Next, get your breading station all setup so you can easily bread your stuffed olives. You'll need lightly beaten eggs in one bowl, flour in another, and bread crumbs in another. The breading technique is as follows: roll the olives around in the flour first, then dip each one in the egg, shake off the excess egg, then roll them around in the bread crumbs.
Set the breaded olives on a plate as you go until they are all breaded and ready to be fried.
Fry the breaded olives at 370 degrees in canola oil or your oil of choice. You will only need to fry them for a couple minutes. Just fry them until they are dark golden brown to make sure the sausage cooks through inside the olives. You'll know the sausage is cooked because it will be a grey color and firm to the touch. Salt the crispy olives as soon as they come out of the oil - drain them on paper towels. Then, just serve them up in a bowl, crack open a couple icy cold beers, and enjoy!