Author Notes:I am an olive fiend, and for me, this dish is the ultimate snack food. Olives, stuffed with a savory goat cheese, breaded and fried until crisp, and topped with a shaving of sharp cheese, lemon zest, and a spritz of lemon.
Serves 2 dozen
24large green olives, pitted
1/2cup goat cheese
1teaspoon whole mustard seeds
1teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine
1/4teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1garlic clove, minced
1cup all purpose flour
1cup breadcrumbs (fresh or panko)
1/3cup parmigiano reggiano, or similar
1cup vegetable oil
Parmigiano reggiano, for sprinkling
Zest and juice from one lemon, for sprinkling
In a small bowl, mix the goat cheese, mustard seed, rosemary, chile flakes, and garlic. Stuff the olives with the cheese mixture (I like to use my fingers, but you could also use a piping bag if you're really classy). Put the stuffed olives on a plate and refrigerate for 20 minutes, to let the cheese firm up.
While the olives are chilling, heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan to 375 degrees.
Set up three plates for your breading station. Put the flour on one plate, the beaten egg on the next, and mix the bread crumbs and cheese on the last plate.
When the olives have chilled, roll half of them in the flour, then in the egg, then in the bread crumbs and carefully drop them into the heated oil. Fry until golden brown, about one minute per side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain, and repeat with the remaining olives.
Pile on a plate and finish with a shower of freshly grated cheese and lemon zest and a spritz of lemon.