This week’s ingredient was chosen by Jerry, who says that he picked olives so that he could use some of the wonderful olives he brought back from his recent trip to Greece. Don't miss checking out his blog for two delicious olive recipes: a Swiss Olive Galette and Olive and Potato Balls with Pesto. Thank you Jerry for choosing olives!
I was thrilled to see this ingredient in our Small Bites schedule because I truly love olives. I’ve been eating them almost all my life. Green Spanish olives are a main ingredient in Puerto Rican cuisine, added to almost all stews, salads and rice dishes. My mom would usually use a mix of olives, red peppers (pimiento morrón) and capers that came in a jar, known as alcaparrado.
For today’s recipe I chose to make savory empanadas stuffed with olives, ham, egg, and cheddar cheese. I used Spanish Manzanilla olives stuffed with red pimento. Recipe is from The Essential Fingerfood Cookbook.
Ham and Olive Empanadillas
2 eggs, hard-boiled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup stuffed green olives, chopped
2/3 cup finely chopped cooked ham
1/4 cup shredded cheddar
3 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry, thawed
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1. Place the eggs in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, then drain and cool for 5 minutes in cold water. Peel and chop.
2. Combine the eggs, green olives, ham and cheddar in a large bowl. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Lightly grease two baking sheets.
3. Cut the puff pastry sheets into 4 inch rounds. (You should be able to cut about five rounds from each sheet.) Spoon a tablespoon of the ham and olive mixture into the center of each round, fold the pastry over to encase the filling and crimp the edges firmly to seal. I used a salad fork to make the seal.
4. Place the pastries on the baking sheets, about 3/4 inch apart. Brush with the egg yolk and bake in the center to top half of the oven for 15 minutes, or until well browned and puffed. Switch the baking sheets around after 10 minutes and cover loosely with foil if the empanadillas start to become too brown. Serve hot.
Last year, while traveling in Andalucía, we spent a day in the countryside admiring the endless olive groves that dot the Andalusian landscape. We spent a few hours in the environs of the town of Jaén. The oil produced in this province accounts for one-third of Spain’s olive oil and 10% of the world's olive oil production. Impressive numbers. This photo was taken almost a year ago, on November 6. The olives are not quite ready for harvesting. The fruit will stay on the tree until late November.