If you’re a regular reader of these recipes, I’ve no doubt you enjoy snacking. Snacking is so, so important. Imagine not snacking for a moment. Awful, isn’t it? The very idea that come 11am – “elevenses” is the archaic term – you happen to be without a slice of toast, heavily buttered; or at the wistful hour of 3pm there are no olives to be found.
Snacking is not only vital throughout the day, but when watching films, too. There are lots of good cinematic options available right now: The Banshees of Inisherin; Glass Onion; The Menu. The latter I saw at a preview screening in Soho some months ago, and I marvelled at it then as I did a second time courtesy of Netflix.
Again, as a recipe swallower, food is of interest to you, and so I suggest sitting down to watch The Menu if you haven’t yet done so. It is clunky in
parts, sure; it is farcical to the point of mindless delirium during others. But
its overarching sentiments around the tricky and bashful world of fine dining, and its observations of chefs, earnest, earnest chefs, is nothing short of hilarious and thrilling throughout.
Anna Taylor-Joy powerfully plays a reluctant and unassuming partner to Nicholas Hoult’s gastro-enthusiast. When it comes to Hoult, there are so many like him on the scene, much to restaurants’ detriment, and he captures the essence of “fuck off” with tremendous vigour. Ralph Fiennes, the chef extraordinaire, manages well a dark and comedic parody, and I’m sure I’ve met whomever Hong Chau, the maitre d’, based herself on.
The Menu would be a fine match for these Italian Scotch olives, the recipe of which comes from the chef Rod Chambers at Luca, an Italian restaurant in London. Prepare a batch, pour a beer – Dry January? No – and stick it on. A combination as good as halibut and Sancerre.
ITALIAN SCOTCH OLIVES WITH ROASTED GARLIC AND PRESERVED LEMON MAYONNAISE
For the SCOTCH OLIVES:
300g sausage meat
10 pitted gordal olives, patted dry of brine
1 clove garlic finely diced
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 small white onion, finely diced
100ml of red wine
1 tbsp of chopped thyme and sage
Salt and pepper
150g plain flour (seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper)
200g of egg yolk (whisked with a few tbsp of milk)
200g panko breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil for deep frying
For the MAYONNAISE:
150g of egg yolk
15ml white wine vinegar
15g Dijon mustard
300ml vegetable oil
200ml vegetable oil to confit garlic
2 large heads of Italian or Spanish garlic, peeled
1 tsp chopped preserved lemon
Sprig of rosemary
For the mayonnaise (use good-quality shop-bought mayonnaise and stir through garlic and lemon if you prefer), preheat the oven to 180c.
Wrap the garlic bulbs with foil and a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and roast in the oven for 50-60 minutes until extremely soft. Set aside to cool.
Press the garlic cloves into a sieve and scrape through. You will need to weigh 100g.
Blend (with a hand blender) the eggs, vinegar, mustard, lemon and roasted (sieved) garlic in a tall jug. Gradually add the oil in a steady stream and finish with salt. Set aside while making the scotch olives.
Gently sweat the onion in a splash of olive oil over a low heat for 3-5 minutes, then add the garlic and fennel seeds and cook for further 3 minutes. Add the chopped thyme and sage and red wine and reduce to a glaze. Spread the mix on to a large plate and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Combine the sausage meat and herby onions in a mixing bowl, and work the
ingredients together with a pinch of black pepper. Do a tester by frying a garlic clove-sized piece of the mix in a pan. Then divide the mix into 10 x 25g
balls (about the size of a quail egg).
Take an olive and wrap the meat around it, so it’s completely covered (just like a scotch egg!)
Roll the scotch olives around in the seasoned flour (use a plate or flat-based bowl) coating all edges.
Dip the scotch olives individually in the egg yolk, let the excess drip off then coat thoroughly in the breadcrumbs. Place on a plate ready for cooking.
Heat the oil to 190c in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan. Carefully drop each Scotch olive into the hot oil for 3-4 minutes until golden and crisp and the sausage meat is completely cooked. Cook in batches of 5 or more if you’re using a large pan. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
Leave for a few minutes to cool a little. Serve and dip into the mayonnaise.