Fried Feta Cheese Stuffed Olive Recipe

Fried Feta Cheese Stuffed Olive Recipe Recipe

According to Daddy (my father-in-law), any snack tastes better fried. For this particular recipe he came up with, I tend to agree. We recently served feta stuffed olives at a dinner party. At the end of the evening, there was still a bowl full of the black olives leftover. Daddy challenged me and said they would have been all gone had I deep-fried them. The following day, I coated the cheese stuffed olives in a fritter batter and gave them a bath in boiling oil.

 

An entire bowl of fried olives never really made it to the dining table; they were devoured as soon as they were ready. What makes fried olives so tasty is that ther're perfectly crisp on the outside, but still remain soft on the inside. The key to success with these fried appetizers is to make sure you allow the excess batter to drip back into the batter bowl, then place the olives one at a time in the hot oil. I’m big enough to admit it; Daddy was right!

 

Ingredients

Yields: 6 servings

16 ounces kalamata olives, pitted
4 ounces feta cheese, diced
10 tablespoons all-purpose flour, as needed
2/3 cup buttermilk, chilled, as needed
1-½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1-½ teaspoons cumin, freshly ground
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups peanut oil (or regular vegetable oil), for deep frying, as needed
1 cup pomegranate dressing (recipe follows in the tip section)


Directions

Prepping the olives: Place a small cube of feta cheese inside each olive.

For the fritter batter:

In a large bowl, combine ½ cup flour, red chili flakes, paprika, turmeric powder, cumin and salt. Add buttermilk and whisk until incorporated. Do NOT over-mix; it's okay if the batter is still lumpy. It should have the consistency of pancake batter. Allow to rest for about an hour.

Deep-frying:

Place the rest of the flour in a deep dish plate. Roll the olives in the flour.

Layer a cooling rack, lined with paper towels, on top of a baking sheet (for easy clean-up of the drained oil).

In a small pan (or any regular deep-fryer), heat the oil for about 2 minutes over high heat. There should be at least a 2-inch-high level of oil. Wait until the oil is slightly bubbly (not too hot).

Test the oil by dropping a teaspoon of batter into the hot oil. It should float but not swell.

Remove the excess flour from the olive, then dip it into the batter to coat completely. Allow the excess batter to drip back into the bowl and place in the hot oil. Repeat the same procedure for the rest of the olive fritters.

Fry in batches. Make sure the olives don't touch each other. Lower the heat to medium. Deep fry for 2-3 minutes per batch. Use a splatter screen to prevent the oil from jumping everywhere . Flip each piece using a spider skimmer and cook for about a minute more until golden on both sides.

Delicately lift each appetizer, draining as much oil as possible, and transfer to the cooling rack. Continue with the rest of the olives.

Serve with pomegranate dressing on the side.

Bon apptit!


Tips

Another cheese that pairs wonderfully with this olive appetizer is Manchego.

For optimal results when heating the frying oil, the thermometer should register 345°F to 360°F. Heat the oil over medium to high heat (for a nice golden color).

How to make pomegranate dressing: Place ¼ cup chopped blanched flat-leaf parsley in a mortar and pestle. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon sea salt and turn the mixture into a coarse purée (The addition of the sea salt helps to get the right texture). Transfer to a small bowl. Add 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoon pomegranate molasses, 2 teaspoons honey (optional), the juice of a lemon and ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil. Whisk well. Season with salt and white pepper. Voilà!

smoked paprika

I used Bourbon Barrel brand smoked paprika.

You can find pomegranate molasses in most Middle Eastern markets.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on March 2, 2012.


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