Salty and earthy flavors merge together in a compact, green Frescatrano olive that’s breaded and fried. Each tiny little olive is a power-bite – an explosion of robust and pungent flavors. Though they’re time consuming to make, they only require a few ingredients and can be fried in an air frier.
There is something ridiculously satisfying, albeit slightly surprising, about a deep-fried Frescatrano olive stuffed with anchovies and blue cheese. Though the flavors might seem off-kilter, it’s a flavor combination which parallels the city that inspired it – San Francisco. Like San Francisco’s quirky streets and dark corners, this stuffed olive is unexpectedly and slightly pungent: a small unadulterated, briny capsule. I’d first had a fried and battered olive at the north end of Kearny Street, in a dim restaurant with twinkly fairy lights, that undoubtedly no longer exists. The appetizer had been ordered, and though I’d never been an adventurous eater in my early 20s, I still wasn’t naive enough to turn down free food. Though the original fried olive stuffed with blue cheese and anchovies doesn’t exist anymore, I’d like to think our version is just as savory, and maybe even better.
The stars of this recipe is the blue cheese, olives, and anchovies. To make these fried little appetizers, use a soft wedge of blue cheese. We used a favorite, Saint Agur Blue Cheese for its rich and very distinctly ‘blue’ flavor. Plus, once stored at room temperature, the cheese is incredibly soft and easy to mix. Additionally, large and pitted Frescatrano olives are divine – they lend a creamy and mild flavor which pairs nicely with the cheese and anchovies. These olives are also large enough to stuff. Grab a can of anchovies and use 4-5 fillets, drained. Additional ingredients include a little bit of mayonnaise, and flour, egg, and bread crumbs for the coating. Because of the blue cheese mixture, these olives have the best flavor when the inside is hot and gooey, so serve immediately.
Another tip for this recipe. If you have a small spoon, you can gingerly stuff the olives with the cheese mixture; however, Meg and I found it much more efficient to use a small piping bag with the tip cut off to pipe the cheese mixture into the olive.
Here’s the recipe:
Air-fried Anchovy Blue Cheese Stuffed Olive
- Air fryer
- small tray for the air fryer
- Piping bag, optional
- 4-5 fillets anchovy, drained
- 50 grams Saint Agur blue cheese, room temperature (about 0.1 pound, 2-3 tablespoons)
- 1 tsp mayonaise
- 30 drained and pitted Frescatrano olives, about 1 6-ounce bag
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup panko or breadcrumbs
- High heat spray oil such as avocado oil
- Turn the air fryer on to 375ºF.
- In a small bowl, mash the fillets with a small spoon or fork, to break them up slightly.
- Add the blue cheese and stir with a spoon until combined with the anchovies.
- Add the mayonaise and stir until combined.
- Using a piping bag or a small spoon, pipe a small amount of the cheese mixture into each olive – there's no need to overfill the olive. Once all 30 olives have been stuffed, put to the side.
- Set up 3 small shallow bowls or plates. Fill one bowl with flour, one with egg, and one with breadcrumbs. Working 5 olives at a time, dip them into the flour, then dip them into the egg, then dip them into the bread crumbs so that they are evenly coated. Remove the breaded olives and put them on the prepared tray.
- Once all 30 olives are on the tray, spray the olives with the high-heat oil until they have been well-covered. Pop them into the air frayer and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the coating is starting to brown and the inside is hot. Serve immediately.
Here is a 20-second recap video:
The first six photos:
grind or crush the anchovies fillets in a small dish, add the blue cheese and mayo, and mix together.
Next, pipe the filling into the olives. Then, flour, egg wash, and bread the olives. Fry and eat immediately and preferably with a cold glass of white wine.