Italian scotch olives

Giving olives the scotch egg treatment by rolling them in sausagemeat and breadcrumbs before frying, creates a great starter, or nibble to serve with drinks. This recipe comes courtesy of Italian restaurant Luca, where it’s served with confit garlic mayo and crispy sage leaves.


1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds
½tsp thyme, chopped
½tsp sage, chopped
100ml red wine
300g sausagemeat
pitted Gordal olives, patted dry of brine
150g plain flour, seasoned
6 egg yolks, whisked with 3 tbsp of milk
200g panko breadcrumbs
vegetable oil, for deep-frying


  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onion for 5 minutes until just softening, then add the garlic and fennel seeds, and cook for further 3 minutes. Add the herbs and wine, and reduce to a glaze. Spread the mixture onto a large plate and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  2. Combine the sausagemeat and onion mixture in a mixing bowl, and work the ingredients together with a pinch of salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into 10 x 25g balls (each about the size of a quail’s egg).
  3. Take an olive and wrap the meat around it until completely covered (just like a scotch egg). Roll the scotch olives around in the seasoned flour (use a plate or flat bowl) coating all over. Dip the scotch olives individually in the egg yolk, let the excess drip off, then coat thoroughly in the breadcrumbs. Put on a plate ready for cooking.
  4. Fill a pan no more than a third full with vegetable oil and heat to 190C or until a cube of bread browns in 25 seconds. Fry the scotch olives in batches for 3-4 minutes or until deeply golden and crisp, and the meat is cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Serve with mayonnaise, if you like.

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