Niçoise Fried Olives
makes 80 olives
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1/4 cup ricotta cheese, room temperature
- 2 ounces chèvre (fresh goat cheese), room temperature
- The leaves from 3 stems thyme
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Perrier or seltzer water
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 40 Nicoise olives, pitted
- 40 large green olives, pitted
- Fleur de sel and lemon wedges for serving
- Fill a cast iron skillet at least 1 inch deep with vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat, and bring to 350°F.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. Mix together the ricotta, chèvre, thyme, and lemon zest. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Make the batter, by whisking together the flour, Perrier, baking powder, and salt.
- Dip the black olives in the batter, and fry in batches. They will be golden and puffed in 30 to 60 seconds.
- Meanwhile, fit a baggie with a pastry tip, and fill with the ricotta mixture. Pipe the green olives with just a bit of the stuffing. Then, dip them in the batter as with the black olives, and fry 60 to 90 seconds.
- Drain all the olives on paper towel, and sprinkle with fleur de sel or sea salt, and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing.
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