Olives all'Ascolana -- deep-fried, stuffed green olives. Devotee of Italian food that I am, I had never heard of these gorgeous little things ... how could that be???
Tom had read a review of Silvio's Organic Pizza, a place we'd eaten at back in March and promised to visit again, in which these unheard of treats were mentioned. Well, olive lovers that we are, how could we resist? And as someone who is always seeking new and intriguing foods, this was too fabulous an opportunity to let pass!
According to Italianfood.about.com, these breaded, fried olives were "renowned in Roman times, though the recipe for transforming them into stuffed olives is more recent, dating to the 17th century." They derive from the Ascoli region in eastern Italy and are an immensely popular street food, apparently. Who knew??? (Well, millions of Italians have apparently known for 400 years, but you know what I mean!)
Thus Olives all'Ascolana are very old, but they were brand spankin' new to us. So we meandered on over to Silvio's.
The olives were served fresh from the fryer, fragrant and enticing. They were very hot, clearly having been made just for us. But oh, were they luscious!!! Crackling and crisp on the outside, tender once bitten into, comfortingly familiar and yet distinctly novel. These could easily prove to be addictive! And the price is fair for the labor of love that they are -- $5.99/dozen -- with the stuffing and the breading all necessarily being done by hand.
I would show you a picture of one cut in half, so that you could see the filling (a nearly pureed meat mixture), but quite frankly we're all lucky to see the bowl of olives itself. As always, I took out my camera to start photographing my food. I framed the olives, I focused, I clicked ... and the camera shut off.
I tried again ... pffft.
I tried one more time simply because I'm obstinate and I was going to write about these olives, so there! Alas, no such luck -- dead battery, of course at a most inopportune moment.
But then as I downloaded photos over the weekend, I saw an unexpected image. Lo and behold, there was one perfect photo of the bowl of olives! Yay!!!
So if you're in Ann Arbor I highly, highly recommend the Olives all'Ascolana at Silvio's!!! If you're not in Ann Arbor, you're on your own to either find a truly authentic family-run Italian restaurant that knows about such important matters as deep-fried olives, or you'll have to do an internet search to find a recipe and make them yourself.
Sorry, but that's the best I can do after offering a hint of these seductive little tidbits! I know, I know -- I'm such a tease ... :)
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