Crispy Sausage-Stuffed Olives

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This appetizer packs a lot of southern Italian attitude in every bite. I love to catch my guests off guard with a flavor they don’t expect. The idea is to wake up their palates with some big tastes and textures. This dish does just that.

NotesCooking Notes: Look for large, pitted green Sicilian-style olives for this dish. They come packed in cans and jars, or buy them loose from a local deli. If you can only find already-stuffed olives—with pimientos, onions, anchovies, almonds—you can just remove the stuffing.

Entertaining Notes: Pass these olives in a typical ceramic olive boat, just as you would plain olives. If you know the fancy artichoke napkin fold (if not, and you have a few minutes, you can track it down online), serve the olives on a folded napkin-lined plate. They are also a great partner for a platter of Italian cheeses.

Wine Notes: A cool, fruity red such as a Beaujolais nicely complements these crisp green olives. Or, for a fun presentation, serve them alongside jet-cold martinis.

Cooking Methodfrying


Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Cocktail Party

Recipe Courseappetizer, hors d'oeuvre, tapas/small plates

Dietary Considerationsoy free, tree nut free

Equipmentdeep fryer

Taste and Texturecrisp, garlicky, savory, spiced


  • 1 sweet fresh Italian sausage, about ¼ pound, casing removed
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 can or jar (12 ounces) large pitted green olives
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup fine dried bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Peanut oil for deep-frying


  1. In a bowl, combine the sausage meat, garlic, and red pepper flakes, if using, and mix to distribute the ingredients evenly.

  2. Drain the olives and rinse them under running cold water. Stuff each of the olives with ¼ to ½ teaspoon of the sausage mixture.

  3. Spread the flour on a dinner plate.

  4. Break the egg into a shallow bowl and beat lightly.

  5. Spread the bread crumbs on another dinner plate. Moisten the bread crumbs with the olive oil, and stir to distribute the oil evenly.

  6. One at a time, roll the olives in the flour, coating them evenly and shaking off the excess. Then dip them in the egg, letting any excess drip back into the bowl.

  7. Finally, coat the olives evenly with the bread crumbs. As each olive is finished, place it on a tray.

  8. Cover and refrigerate the olives for at least 10 minutes or up to 2 hours before frying.

  9. Pour the peanut oil to a depth of at least 3 inches into a deep fryer or a heavy, 8-inch-deep stockpot and heat to 375°F.

  10. Working in batches, add the olives to the hot oil and fry until golden brown and the sausage stuffing is cooked through, about 3 minutes.

  11. The olives will bubble vigorously until they are nearly done, so be careful to avoid splatters. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.

  12. Arrange the olives in a ceramic dish. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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I prepared these last night but used the vegetarian filling of goat cheese and white beans listed on the recipe for Scotch Eggs. The olives turned out wonderfully and were rich and delicious.


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