This is a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Plenty – ‘nicked’, he writes, from the restaurant Balaboosta in New York. They make a rather special pre-dinner nibble, especially if you use top-quality olives: much more exciting than crisps, and nutrient-rich too.
1/2 – 1 small green chilli, roughly chopped (less if you prefer less heat)
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 teaspoon cloves (if you dislike cloves, use cumin instead)
3/4 teaspoon sugar
20g coriander, roughly chopped
20g parsley, roughly chopped
45g preserved lemon (skin and flesh), roughly chopped (if you have no preserved lemon, you can use half a fresh lemon, including the skin; you may need to add slightly more sugar to counteract the bitterness)
60ml olive oil
80g panko breadcrumbs or gluten-free breadcrumbs
50g plain flour or gluten-free flour
2 eggs, beaten
160g pitted green Real Olive Co olives
300g Greek yoghurt
light olive oil or cold-pressed groundnut oil, for frying
Blend the chilli, spices, sugar, coriander, parsley, lemon and olive oil in a small blender until you have a rough paste.
Beat the eggs in a bowl, and put the flour and breadcrumbs on two separate plates. Take each olive and dip it in the flour, then the egg, and then the breadcrumbs.
Put 4-5 tablespoons of oil into a pan or enough to cover the surface well. Put on a medium heat and when the pan is nice and hot, add the olives, turning them over as they cook so that they are a golden colour all over. This should take about one minute. When done, transfer them to a plate – you can put them on kitchen paper to get rid of excess oil.
Spoon the yoghurt into a serving dish and swirl the green paste into it without mixing them up completely. Put the olives on top and serve.