Marche Recipe of the Month: Olive all’AscolanaJonathan Zeiger
Nobody – wino, lost tourist, world traveler or avid explorer – should be subjected to a trip that doesn’t include awesome foods.
What’s an Italian experience without amazing local recipes? That’s exactly what we’re bringing you in this portion of The Marche Monthly. Welcome to the first edition of Marche Recipe of the Month! First on our list, a famous recipe from the city of Ascoli Piceno. Olive all’Ascolana- green olives stuffed with beef or pork & vegetables or herbs, then fried in olive oil. Each family in Le Marche has it’s own recipe, and the olives are quite popular throughout Italy, often served during aperitivo (think the Italian happy hour). Today I’m bringing you the scoop on this Marche staple, with the recipe from Chef Giampiero Giammarini of Locanda i Piceni. Let’s dive on in.
Olive all’Ascolana derives its name from its home city of Ascoli Piceno, “the city of 100 towers”, in the south of the Marvelous Marche. The nobile [no-bee-lay], or noble people of the city saw towers as a status symbol and thus, everyone had to have one. How else to flaunt your celebrity status? A dish only your friends could eat. It was first made as a specialty served exclusively to esteemed guests of the nobility in the 19th century. It is a recipe that captures the history and tradition of the region.
Giampiero Giammarini is the chef and owner of Locanda i Piceni. He opened the restaurant in 2002 in the hills of his home, the village of Ortezzano, out of a passion that comes with 12 years of experience. Today, now 25 years as chef under his belt, his restaurant bed & breakfast is a well-known favorite amongst travelers.
I Piceni continually receives high ratings on Trip Advisor, and in 2013 received the Certificate of Excellence. “I got inspiration from each place where I worked all around the world, in particular a famous restaurant in Rome, but also in every place where I ate, and obviously from my mom’s way of cooking”, says Chef Giampiero.
“I’m a chef from 25 years and of course I have my own philosophy about food. I use just local and seasonal high-quality food, and short cooking times, I takes products just from little producers so that I can highlight the traditions of the place”.
Chef Giampiero was gracious enough to share his own family’s recipe for the Olive all’Ascolana. This will yield 120+ pieces of the tasty morsels. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- Green olives ‘Gentle’ variety
- 300 grams chicken breast
- 400 grams lean beef
- 300 grams lean pork
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Fresh unwaxed lemons
- Salt and Pepper
Cut all the meat into 2-3 cm cubes, sautè gently with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, cover with cold water and continue to cook until the water is reduced but not completely dry.
Ground the meat when it is cold keeping some of the cooking liquid, adjust salt and pepper to taste and add some grated lemon peel, nutmeg and grated parmesan cheese.
Remove the stone from the olive with a small sharp knife, cutting around in a spiral, attempting to keep the olive whole. Make a small ball with the meat and stuff into the olive. (If the mixture is too dry it will not stick together, so add some more of the cooking liquid or water if necessary).
Roll the stuffed olive in flour, dip into a mix of beaten eggs and roll in the breadcrumbs.
Deep fry in small numbers until crisp and golden brown.
And there ya go! Bring these out to one of your lunch or dinner parties, and they’ll be a guaranteed hit (I would make a lot). I know what I’ll be eating tonight 😉
Grazie mille to Chef Giampiero for his participation in today’s article. This writer will certainly be visiting Locanda i Piceni on my next visit to the Marvelous Marche!