When an olive becomes a masterpiece

Maybe it never occurred to you to stuff an olive with meat and then fry it. Anyway, this is what makes the olive all’ascolana (Ascoli style olives) unique and delicious.

Originated in the ancient town of Ascoli Piceno— the capital of the southern province of Le Marche— they spread all over Italy, appreciated as both a savory appetizer and a mid-day snack. Once bitten, the crunchy breading reveals a soft stuffing of ground meat that smells of nutmeg.

Since this regional specialty takes time to prepare, it is usually featured at festive and special occasions. The most delicate part of the process is cutting the olives properly: from the pit, as you would cut the peel off an apple in a single spiral.

Watch this video for a detailed recipe demonstration. If you decide to try, make sure you enjoy the preparation by turning it into a cooking party with friends or relatives, and assigning a specific role to each person. Because — never forget it — conviviality is the most important ingredient of any Italian dish.