Aceitunas Empanadas con Manchego (Cheese-stuffed, fried olives)

Can be made Gluten Free + Vegan Friendly · Vegetarian

6 May· Written by Raquel Jones


HISTORY & INTERESTING FACTS


Spain boasts an impressive title - it's the world's leading producer of olive oil, contributing a staggering 50% of the global supply. To put this into perspective, Spain's olive oil production surpasses Italy's by more than twice and Greece's by fourfold.

Just a two-hour drive south of Barcelona, you'll encounter a mesmerising region known as the Sea of Olives or "Mar de Olivos." But these aren't your ordinary olive trees; this area is home to an extraordinary concentration of ancient olive trees, primarily the "Millenary" variety. Picture colossal trunks with diameters exceeding 3.5 meters, often reaching an astounding girth of 6 meters! Some of these venerable trees have been meticulously cataloged as over 1,500 years old, yet they continue to yield precious oil.

The story of these ancient trees began with the Greeks and Romans, who introduced them to Spain. Today, these olive trees grace a sprawling 2.5 million hectares of Spanish soil, serving as a cherished part of the country's heritage.




In celebration of the remarkable olive, I'm thrilled to share my "pimped-up" take on this beloved ingredient. Imagine plump olives stuffed with cheese, delicately coated in breadcrumbs, and fried to golden perfection.

The result? A snack so irresistibly good, you may find it hard to stop at just one.

While Spain typically uses Gordal olives, which are aptly named for their substantial size, I've discovered equally delightful olive substitutes right here in Australia.

I trust you'll relish this recipe and wish you the best of luck in resisting the temptation to indulge in just a single bite!

Bon Profit! Raquel x





Serves: 5-6 people as a tapa (4 each)


INGREDIENTS

  • 20-24 pitted green olives (I use Spanish Manzanilla olives or you can also use the green, pitted Sicilian olives available at Woolies)
  • 4-5 tbsp of Manchego cheese, grated (you can substitute a different cheese, but make sure it’s nutty in flavour and not too salty)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • olive oil for frying
  • salt (as required)


METHOD

  1. Stuff each olive with as mush cheese as can fit inside.
  2. Create a dipping station: 1 bowl with flour, 1 bowl with egg and 1 bowl with breadcrumbs
  3. Roll each cheese-stuffed olive in the flour first, then the egg and then the breadcrumbs and lay out on a clean plates ready to fry.
  4. Heat a couple of centimetres of oil in a small, deep saucepan. You’ll know the oil is ready when a cube of bread browns within 25 seconds.
  5. Gently place the olives into the oil are fry for a few minutes, then take out and drain on some paper towel before seasoning a little with salt. Serve immediately.


WINE MATCHING & SERVING SUGGESTION


This dish is perfect with a glass of ourAmphora Blanco or Amphora Àmbar, rosé or pinot grisor alongside a cold sherry, like a Fino, as a pre-dinner tipple and tapa!