Whenever we eat at Broder's Pasta Bar these days, we start our meal with an order of olive ripiene, olives stuffed with fennel sausage then breaded and deep fried. Oh, they are a crunchy, salty treat. I had some leftover Italian sausage in the fridge so, I thought I'd try to make my own version.
Instead of stuffing the olives with the sausage, I wrapped mine in it, almost like a Scotch egg with an olive in place of the egg. Then I rolled them in a little panko and baked them. The panko toasted up in the fat of the pork makes for a crisp little bite without the hassle of frying. The flavor of the fennel and pork sausage mixes with briny olive to create a bite goes so wonderfully with your favorite libation.
Sausage and Olive Bites
1 lb bulk Italian sausage
48 green olives with the pimento
1/2 c or so panko
Dry off the olives with a paper towel. Make a little patty with a small bit of the sausage, about 2 inches wide. Put an olive in the middle and wrap the sausage around it. Roll in your hands to make a meatball about 1 inch in size. Roll in panko. Continue until all the sausage and olives are used up. Chill for at least an hour. (My mom thinks you could freeze them & then pull them out when guests stop by though, I have not tested this.)
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Put the bites on a baking sheet with sides. Bake for 20 minutes until the panko is turning golden brown and the sausage is cooked through. Serve hot or warm.
I'm not exactly sure of the yield here. I had a little less than 1/4 pound of sausage and got 10 bites out of it so, I think a whole pound will get about 4 dozen.
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