¼ to ½ C mild blue or Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
40 pitted Spanish green olives, dried thoroughly
½ C all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ C regular Panko breadcrumbs
½ C plain breadcrumbs
¼ C grated Parmesan cheese
Canola or vegetable oil for frying
For the garlic dip:
2 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press
¼ tsp Kosher salt
½ C Greek yogurt or mayonnaise
2 Tbsp olive oil
Juice from ½ lemon or lime
(Note: The olives can be fried ahead of time and refrigerated to enjoy later. To serve, reheat in a preheated 400-degree oven for 2 to 3 minutes. Watch closely.)
Gently stuff each dried olive with a small piece of cheese and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside until ready to fry.
In a large, heavy-bottomed stovetop pan, pour enough oil to fill the pan a third of the way up the sides. Heat oil until a deep-frying thermometer reads 350 degrees or until a cube of bread, deep-fried, takes 2 minutes to brown.
While oil is heating, place the flour in a cereal-sized bowl. Place the slightly beaten eggs in another cereal-sized bowl and combine the Panko breadcrumbs, plain breadcrumbs and Parmesan in another small bowl.
When oil is ready, place 5 to 8 olives in the bowl with the flour. Toss gently with a slotted spoon or fork until olives are covered with flour.
Place the olives in the bowl with the beaten egg, being sure to coat each one. With a different slotted spoon (or fork), transfer the olives to the breadcrumb mixture and, using another fork, turn the olives gently to cover with the breadcrumbs.
Place the olives in the hot oil and fry for 30 to 45 seconds or until golden brown. Very gently stir the olives in the oil so all sides fry evenly. Transfer the olives to the paper-towel covered plate to cool a few minutes before serving. Repeat until all olives are fried. Serve with garlic dip.
Note: If the dip become “gummy,” replace with fresh ingredients.
To make the garlic dip, press the garlic through a garlic press and transfer the garlic to a cutting board.
Sprinkle the garlic with the coarse salt. Scrape the garlic and salt back and forth while pressing the mixture firmly with the side of the knife, until a paste forms.
Place the garlic paste in a small bowl and add the Greek yogurt, olive oil and lemon (or lime) juice. Whisk quickly until mixture is well incorporated. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. This dip can be made up to two days ahead. Recipe and photo courtesy ofthecookierookie.com.