OLIVE FRITTE (Lighly fried, fresh black olives)

I first made Olive Fritte (fried olives) after I bought The Taste of Italy in 1984. Bugialli became a big hit in Australia and I still have several of his books.


These are ripe, fresh olives (not pickled) that are sautéed in extra virgin olive oil, course- grained salt and freshly ground black pepper. (Bugialli’s recipe: 1 pound of black olives, 2tbs olive oil, ½ tbsp of the salt and a pinch of pepper and sautéed gently for 15 minutes).

South Australia is blessed with wild oIive trees. I was living in Adelaide at that time and you could handpick the olives you wanted according to the degree of maturity, the range of shapes and sizes – and all for free.

Even then I had adventurous friends who were willing to try anything I cooked and those who sampled these were wary at first, but quickly adjusted and enjoyed the fresh slightly bitter taste of the olives. They continued eating them and took more. At the time, I also added fresh bay leaves.

Recently two of my friends brought me a small bag of olives as a gift. They had visited two other friends at Rocky Passes, a boutique winery at the southern end of the Strathbogie Ranges in the Upper Goulburn wine growing region of Victoria. These two friends produce award winning red wines and In their kitchen garden there are some olive trees. This is where these olives (in the photo) came from.

This time when I sautéed them fresh, I added fennel seeds and deglazed the pan with some good quality red wine vinegar. I presented them on two separate occasions to different guests and once again watched them tentatively put the first olive in their mouths, the incredulous expressions on their faces (should I be eating these??) and then the enjoyment of savouring something bitter but at the same time with a hint of sweetness (Campari?). I ensured them that bitter food is good for the liver so we drank some more wine.

Use low heat and sauté 2 cups of unblemished, black, ripe olives in ½ cup cup of extra virgin olive oil. Add ½ teaspoon of salt flakes and ½ tsp of fennel seeds. Cook for about 15 minutes stir frequently. Add 1 tbsp of red wine vinegar and deglaze the pan.
Sprinkle with some fresh fennel fronds (optional)
Serve warm.

There are a number of recipes for pickling olives and that use olives on the blog.



Christine Gordon intros Marisa @ Readings
EVENT | Thursday 17 November 2011 at 6:30pm

Marisa Raniolo Wilkins

Food, wine, book signing
Readings Hawthorn: 701 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn, Victoria, 3122
The event was organised by Christine Gordon.

After this event I went home and made a wild fennel frittata and had it with a bottle of Rocky Passes Estate syrah – a very fine wine and the only bottle left over from the book signing event held in Readings in Hawthorn (Sicilian Seafood Cooking).


Friends Vitto Oles & Candi Westney own and run Rocky Passes Estate and they graciously donated the wine for the Readings event.

Rocky Passes bottle 2

Vitto is the viticulturist and wine-maker of exceptionally good Syrah and Candi is just as important because she is responsible for the entertainment – the music concerts, performances and art exhibitions. Both manage the cellar door and the range of appetising Argentinian/Spanish inspired morsels (tapas) that are available when you visit their winery.

Rocky Passes Estate is at the spectacular southern end of the Strathbogie Ranges, near Seymour in Victoria. If you look at their wine label you will notice two eagles – these birds are often soaring above their very attractive property.

The winery is relatively new and had its first vintage of Syrah in 2004 and every vintage since has been highly rated by James Halliday. The winery is open Sundays 11-5pm or by appointment and Tapas also served onthe last Friday of the month as well as during art openings and special events.

I love wild fennel and when I find it I use it.

Fennel fronds

I have written about frittata in a previous post and as you see it is not difficult to make. The fennel can be replaced by any wilted green vegetable, for example spinach, endives, spring onions or asparagus.

Wild greens are superb or you can use bulb fennel, but keep the greens.You can vary the amounts of vegetables but as a general guide I would use 3-4 eggs to a cup of greens. For this frittata I used 12 eggs and it fed 4 of us (we were greedy).
Remember to use a spatula to lift the cooked part of the frittata as it cooks and release the uncooked egg. Need I say that I only use free range eggs?

Frittata cooking

Then flip it over – I used a pizza tray. Finally, slide the frittata out. At the Readings book signing event I accompanied the Rocky passes with green Sicilian olives  (olive schiacciate), marinaded anchovies.


Marianna Di Bartolo from Dolcetti made more fish shaped biscuits for this occasion and once again these were perfectly matched with Brown Brothers’ Zibibbo.


And once again it was an other fine celebration for Sicilian Seafood Cooking.



CHEAT FOOD FOR LAUNCH OF SICILIAN SEAFOOD COOKING AT COASIT AND READINGS: Marinaded white anchovies AND Olive Schacciate made with commercially prepared olives


I am getting so many requests for recipes about the marinaded anchovies and the squashed olives (olive schiacciate, sounds much better), two of the spuntini (little mouthfuls/ tastes) that were available for the Melbourne launch of Sicilian Seafood Cooking at COASIT. 

These olives and anchovies were presented at COASIT and at the event at Readings in Hawthorn- great compliments and many requests for the recipe- a cheat recipe but very successful.

EVENT | Thursday 17 November 2011 at 6:30pm

Marisa Raniolo Wilkins
Food, wine, book signing at Readings Hawthorn: 701 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn, Victoria, 3122

The olives and anchovies are both called my Cheat Recipes and you will see why.

I also made caponata, the Catanese version, which includes peppers. These little offerings, together with the generous food offerings by Fiona Rigg  from Fiona Louise, Marianna di Bartolo from Dolcetti and Alfredo and Lisa La Spina from Bar Idda were very much appreciated by those who attended the launch.


Ingredients and Processes:

I used boquerones (white anchovies) from Spain (1 kilo pack)

Drain them (they are packed in oil and vinegar), add 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic, 1 cup of finely cut parsley and 3 spring onions and cover them with extra virgin olive oil.

Leave in marinade at least one day.

This recipe is nothing new. When we first come to Australia and could not buy fresh sardines (they were used a bait, like squid used to be) my father would buy Spanish sardines packed in salt, wash them carefully, drain them and dress them in the same manner. And he was Sicilian. Sometimes he added oregano or chopped fennel fronds, sometimes capers. The anchovies were stored in the fridge ready to be placed on a fresh piece of bread whenever anyone was hungry and they were also very useful if guests dropped in unexpected.

Accompanied with a cold glass of white wine or a glass of dry vermouth (or dry marsala if we had been able to buy some in the 60’s in small town Adelaide) these marinaded anchovies were very much appreciated. And we never made a brutta figura.

By tomorrow they will be superb. In two days time, they will taste even better.

Not everything need take a long time to prepare. And some of your guests may even like them more than eating fresh sardines treated the same way – some people squirm at the mention of fresh sardines.


I asked my daughter Francesca to prepare the olives for me. The following is her writing:

With two book launches to promote, one book signing, menu preparation for two cooking demonstrations, sourcing wine, book promotion, writing her blog and launch speeches plus a family wedding interstate thrown in, Mum was in need of an extra pair of hands, those I could supply.

I was a little daunted, to begin with, when I learnt my ‘job’ was to prepare 7kg of olives. Not because 7kgs of olives sounded so much and they all had to be crushed in small amounts but I hadn’t made them before and what if they are awful? How embarrassed I would feel and would they come even close to the olives my mother dressed? But there is no cooking involved and I had my instructions – it would be hard to “stuff it up” so I did it.

(for 1 kg of olives, double up for 2kg and so on)
Sicilian Green olives in brine (These were Nocellara brand)
garlic   4/5 large cloves
orange rind from 1 orange
chilli flakes 2 tbls
fennel seeds, 2 tbls
bay leaves, 3-4
wild Fennel fronds/ leaves/green stuff  (failing this, use extra fennel seeds,1 tbs)
extra Virgin olive oil, about a litre- you need enough to cover the olives



Drain the brine from the olives, no need to rinse them. I used a mortar and pestle to crush the olives, a handful at a time and they don’t require much force.
Roughly chop the garlic and wild fennel fronds.  Place the crushed olives into a jar or sealable plastic container and add the chilli, wild Fennel, bay leaves, orange peel and garlic and cover them completely with olive oil.

The olives need to be keep completely under oil at all times and should be stored in the fridge.  I placed a plate over the olives to keep them under the oil level. The oil will solidify so the olives need to be removed from the fridge a couple of hours before eating and the oil drained off. Remember to keep and re-use the flavoured oil – great for salads and cooking.

Carlo Carli at launch of Sicilian Seafood Cooking
 Marisa greets woman