Olives Ascolana: the queens of deep-fried dish!

18.Olive_lowA crispy golden ball, a juicy filling… today our post is all about one of the dishes most loved from Le Marche culinary tradition: the ‘Olives Ascolana’.
These stuffed olives owe their name to the town of Ascoli Piceno. They are made of in brine green olives, stuffed inside with a tender mix of meat.

zoom_48818529_grecheThe history of ‘Olives Ascolane’ is long…Even in ancient times, pickled olives (green and black) were considered as a very nutritious meal. In fact, the Roman soldiers always carried some in their saddlebags for the toughest moments.

Rich people in Rome, however, were looking for something more exclusive and loved the  taste of olives imported from Ascoli Piceno.
The quality of ‘Olives Ascolana’ was also appreciated by the Benedictines-Olivetan monks, while even the Pope Sixtus V had them sent to the Vatican.

Olives Ascolana has gained success and been loved in Italy and abroad, in the past as of today: in short, a dish worth of some attention!



The recipe of the “Olives Ascolane” is dated back to the 1800. It’s a starter made of fried green olives, stuffed with minced meat and spices. Here is our favourite recipe for you today…

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
a small celery stalk, chopped
60 green pickled olives
100 grams ground pork
100 grams ground beef
100 grams ground chicken
1 cup of white wine
3 eggs beaten (one for the stuffing, 2 for the breading)
1 handful of parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp of grated parimsan cheese
1 rind of half lemon
pinch of nutmeg
vegetable oil for frying


Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onion over medium heat until soft
and translucent. Add the carrot and celery and fry for another 5 minutes. Add the meat and brown thoroughly on all sides. Add salt to taste. Pour the wine in and reduce the heat. Simmer for 30 minutes.

In the mean time, remove the pits from the olives as described above.

olive-ascolane.4DSC_8385Once the meat has cooled off, add it to a food processor and grind to a very fine
paste. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, parsley, lemon rind, cloves, nutmeg and meat paste to a consistent, smooth stuffing.

Stuff every olive with a tiny ball of meat paste and put it back in its original shape.

Stuffed olive

How the stuffed olive looks like

For the breading, dust every olive in flour, then dunk it into the egg mixture and
finish with a layer of breadcrumbs. For a thicker crust, you can repeat this process.



Add 5-7 centimeters of vegetable oil to a small frying pan and heat to 175-180 °C. Deep-fry the olives in small batches until golden brown. Transfer to a bowl lined with paper towels and serve, preferably piping hot. olive-300x261

“Buon Appetito!”

59 thoughts on “Olives Ascolana: the queens of deep-fried dish!

    • Yvonne,
      you’re so right!
      Have you tried making them?
      Yes and Yes: they’re great for an ‘happy-hour’ when matched with Prosecco and absolutely amazing with good Italian red wine as a main dish!
      In every way, you can’t just go wrong!
      Thanks for visiting my blog:-)

  1. YUM!!!!OH, How I wish I could grow olives here!!! I love them stuffed and as a kid, I remember putting them on our fingers as kids and eating them:-) Now I prefer them stuffed with cheese/ garlic:-)

  2. I became addicted to olives when living on the continent – along with freshly roasted coffee and huge salads! This recipe looks wonderful, thanks for sharing 😀

    🐻 💚 🍵

  3. Oh my goodness, how did you find my blog???? I make these olives every Christmas. My mother in law’s family was from this very region but I did not know the history. I can’t wait tor had more of your blog.

    • Ciao Bernadette,

      and thanks for checking in!
      I found your blog because we have some blogger-friends in common!
      Olives Ascolana at Christmas time is very traditional in Le Marche, so it sounds like you are also familiar to that!

      Please come and see my blog again if you’d like to find out more about mine and…your mother in law’s region!:-)
      I’m sure you’re going to love more about it than just olives. In fact, there are really many things to…”discover”!!!
      XoXo, Isa:-)

  4. Oh my word! I will eat myself unconscious on olives. I absolute love them! Thanks for the lovely recipe DM. 😀

  5. Oh My God. These sound so good. Green olives are one of my favorite foods and this combination must be incredible. But, time consuming. Worth visiting your region to taste them prepared correctly. Thanks for sharing your recipe in English as well as Italian.

    • Totally agree!!!
      Visiting Le Marche and eating homemade olives ascolane there: the best you can do!
      I tried to make the recipe myself a couple of times, but it never tasted the same as the one I eat at my grandma’s.
      Judy thanks for stopping by my blog and for your comment, by the way!

  6. These look wonderful but I don’t think i have heard of fried olive but would be ready to try them. It sort of reminds me of stuffed jalapenos. Thanks for the recent visit to my blog!

    • I know!!! In fact, this is a really specific recipe from Le Marche.
      You can find stuffed fried olives everywhere there. I guess they’re not as hot as jalapeños, even if I’ve never tried them either. They’re jus very sweet and crispy.
      Trust me when I’m saying when you start eating one, you just can’t stop it! I always end up eating dozens of them! It’s one of my best treat ever!!!
      I hope you will be able to try them one day, and let me know how you liked them!
      By the way, always a pleasure to stop by your blog!
      Baci, Isa:-)

  7. I am drooling! By the way, thanks for liking my posts. I have tried to connect with yours in the past, but had issues with WordPress translating it into English. So happy I clicked this time!

    • WOW! I hope the “Discovermarche ENGLISH” section will be helpful to find out more about Le Marche and the posts I’ve written and traslated so far!
      Please keep visiting…more to “discover”:-)
      CiaoCiao, Isa:-)

  8. These look so yummy. It would be nice, though, if someone offered you a plate with a glass of Prosecco! Otherwise you’d spend an hour making them and they’d be devoured in two minutes by everyone else!

    • It is totally worth it!
      But yes, you’re right: not so easy for beginners. But trust me when I’m saying Italian ‘nonnas’ (grandmas) do it so quickly!!! You wouldn’t believe it!
      It’s just a matter of expertise as many other things. The more you practise the easier it gets:-)

  9. O my! These tidbits look out of this world! I love olives and this recipe ingredients sound awesome, may with tang because of the lemon juice. I can almost smell them cooking. Yum!

    • The taste is different from just an olive itself. I have some friends who are not so fancy about eating raw olives, but they can’t stop from biting stuffed olives ascolana. Give it a try…you won’t regret!:-)

    • The taste is different from just an olive itself. I have some friend who are not so fancy about eating olives, but can’t stop from eating stuffed olives ascolana. Give it a try…you won’t regret!:-)

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