I've recently been thinking about having a tapas-style dinner party, where I make a whole bunch of appetizer selections instead of a main dish. I was collecting recipe ideas (although I haven't planned the actual party...) when I came across this one in The Food52 Cookbook. As soon as I saw the recipe, I decided that there was no reason to wait for a party when I could make these on a random Sunday evening instead. I'm glad I made that decision, because it meant that Andrew and I didn't have to share! These olives were awesome - crunchy and salty and cheesy, really the perfect party snack (even if it's just a party of two).
Adapted from The Food52 Cookbook
You will probably have leftover herbed goat cheese (unless your olives are really huge) - any leftover cheese will be wonderful spread on bread or crackers.
24 large green olives, pitted
1/2 cup goat cheese
1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1/4 tsp chile flakes
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (or similar) cheese
1 cup vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
Mix together goat cheese, rosemary, chile flakes, mustard seed, and garlic until well combined. Stuff the olives with the herbed goat cheese (I used a small knife to widen the olive hole and then just kind of smushed in the cheese. You could also use a piping bag if you want). Refrigerate the stuffed olives for 20 minutes.
Heat oil in a heavy pan to 375 deg F.
While oil heats, mix together the bread crumbs and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in a small bowl. While oil heats, roll the olives in the flour, then dip in the beaten egg, and then roll in the bread crumb mixture to coat. Try to get the breading on as evenly as you can. When olives are breaded, transfer them to a plate or tray.
Fry olives in 2-3 batches. Carefully drop a few olives into the hot oil and fry until the bottom half of the olives is golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip olives over and fry until the other side is golden brown, about 1 more minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Olives can be kept warm in a low oven for up to one hour before serving.