Loretta Lacche hesitates to call this recipe Olive Ascolana. She's made some modifications, so she's dubbed her version Olive Marchegianna, or Le Marche-style Olives.
Makes about 50
1 jar medium to large, unpitted green olives (about 50)
Scant 1/2 cup (about 3.5 ounces) each of: ground pork, ground lean beef, ground chicken, ground prosciutto
Scant 1/2 cup (about 3.5 ounces) butter
Nutmeg to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon)
Scant 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 beaten eggs (use one for making the filling; use two for breading the olives)
1 cup flour
1 cup finely crushed breadcrumbs
About 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, for frying
Drain the brine from the olives. Place them in a bowl and cover with lukewarm water. Let them soak while preparing the filling.
Mix the meats together. In a large saucepan, melt butter and saute meats and nutmeg over low-to-medium heat until the meat is no longer pink. Add the grated Parmesan cheese and one beaten egg. Cook, stirring until the meat mixture is dry. Set aside to cool.
Drain the water from the olives and pat dry. Starting from the end without the hole, cut the olive away from the pit in a spiral, as if you're peeling an apple. The olive will coil. Place the olive meat in a bowl.
Pinch a bit of the meat mixture between your thumb and forefinger and roll into a small ball. Shape the olive meat around the filling, so the fruit regains its original shape. Set aside on a cookie sheet or on a shallow pan.
Dredge the olives lightly in flour. Pour the other two beaten eggs into a shallow bowl. Place the stuffed olives -- a few at a time -- into the bowl and spoon the egg over them. Remove olives from the egg, roll them in the breadcrumbs, then repeat the process. The breading should be thick. Set aside, and bread the remaining olives.
Pour the olive oil into a medium-sized frying pan and heat until the oil is bubbling. Fry the olives until the breading is golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Serve the olives while warm.
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