This recipe was actually inspired by a recent trip to Costco, where I saw a giant jar (we are talking Costco, after all) of Castelvetrano olives. A pretty large jar, really. Because I go into some kind of trance-like state when entering the doors of Costco, I naturally succumbed and purchased the olives. When I got home, I thought, hey, what I am going to do with that incredibly giant jar of olives? I adore olives and snack on them straight-up, but I already had other assorted types of olives hanging around. So, I decided to make a meal-worthy olive. You have probably seen plenty of recipes for olives wrapped in cheese pastry, and this is not a new idea. Adapting it to make it grain free was harder than I thought it would be, however, and it took three different technique attempts before I got a result that did not end up looking like pastry blobs.
I have to say, these are freaking delicious if you are an olive-lover. It was fun to eat the batches that were sort of ugly blobs, because they were very tasty ugly blobs. These are wonderful straight out of the oven, while hot and extra-cheesy, and they are also great later as a room-temperature snack. This is seriously one of my favorite new things.
Of course you can use any kind of olive you like, or use assorted olives for even more interest, and stuffed olives would be great prepared this way. Castelvetranos are a really meaty, firm-textured olive that stands up well to baking, but I also tossed in some other varieties with success. For a party, you could bake this in advance, store in an air-tight container, and then just briefly re-warm them in a moderate oven to serve them hot. I found that the addition of the egg white, plus chilling the dough, really helps keep the almond-based dough from spreading too much–so don’t skip the chilling step unless you want them to turn out blobby so you have an excuse to make another batch.
- About two dozen of your favorite olives
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar (4 ounces)
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 egg white
- Place your olives on some paper toweling to let them dry out while you prepare your dough. You want them fairly dry so the dough will stick.
- In a small mixing bowl, mash together the butter, chipotle, cheddar, and almond flour until the butter is blended in. Stir in the egg white. Refrigerate the dough for about 20 minutes (this will help keep the dough from spreading too much).
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Wrap a thin layer of the dough around each olive, rolling between your hands to form a ball. Do this until you run out of dough. Depending on the size of your olives, you will end up with about two dozen. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until light browned. Remove from the oven and serve.
I suppose it goes without saying that you should use pitted olives for this recipe, lest you risk being sued by an unsuspecting guest who loses a crown. Consider that my little legal disclaimer. At any rate, I think you will like these, and while I have called this an “appetizer” out of respect for social conventions, I had them for lunch the past three days. They are really good.
Thanks for reading,