I just recently catered a Tuscan-themed reception and had several requests for recipes for the hors d’oeuvres served. The client asked if I would share the “Olive Popper” recipe, also a favorite of my husband’s. Several years ago, Wayne first ordered fried olives at a local Italian restaurant and loved them; he spoke of them often and how great they were. So I created my own version, added a few ingredients, and decided to bake (rather than fry) them … thinking it would justify calling this delicious hors d’oeuvre just a bit healthier!
It is a very simple recipe to prepare, full of flavor, and guests love them. These can be made 24 hours prior to serving—pop into the oven just before your guests arrive.
24 large-sized pimento stuffed green olives (can use medium)
4 to 6 oz. goat cheese
1 pound of Italian sausage (medium or hot)
3/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs seasoned with Italian herbs (or Italian bread crumbs)
Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
Drain the olives well and dry with paper towel. Place the crumbs in a shallow container.
Flatten out a small portion of goat cheese into the palm of your hand, place olive in center, and shape the goat cheese around it, enclosing the olive. Flatten out a small portion of sausage into the palm of your hand and place goat cheese/olive into the center, shaping the sausage around, enclosing it. Place wrapped olive in bread crumbs, continuing to shape and pressing the crumbs into the sausage. Repeat with remaining olives. Place and arrange on baking sheet spaced apart.
Bake in pre-heated oven @ 450 degrees. Bake 13-15 minutes, until sausage is cooked and lightly browned.
Serve with your favorite marinara sauce.