For this Portuguese green olive dip, olives are stirred into a whipped eggless ‘mayonnaise’ made with milk, oil, anchovies, garlic, and white pepper.
When I visited A Bolota, a lovely restaurant perched on the sweeping plains of the eastern Alentejo, this dip, called patê de azeitonas verdes, was brought to our table. As I nattered away with friends, I dipped, spread, and nibbled, until I realized I alone had eaten all of it. Later, when I became friendly with the cook, Ilda Vinagre, I watched her make it and was flummoxed when she whipped up its silky base: milk “mayonnaise”—whole milk whirred into a smooth consistency with the addition of vegetable oil. I serve this as a dip with a platter of crudités, alongside crackers or bread, or, sometimes, as a topping for grilled fish.–David Leite
Atenção [Editor’s Note: That means “attention”)
Don’t make this in a food processor. The bowls of most processors are too large to allow the scant amount of ingredients to whip up to the right consistency. A small narrow blender or a mini chop or handheld blender works best.
Portuguese Green Olive Dip
- A small mini chop or hand blender
- 1/3 cup whole milk plus more if needed
- 6 oil-packed anchovy filets
- 1 small garlic clove
- Leaves and tender stems of 6 cilantro sprigs
- Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup pitted green olives such as Manzanilla rinsed quickly if particularly salty, roughly chopped
- In a blender, pulse to combine the 1/3 cup milk, anchovies, garlic, 2/3 of the cilantro, and the pepper.
- With the motor running, pour the oil in what the Portuguese call a fio, or fine thread. Keep whirring until the oil is incorporated and the mixture thickens, 30 seconds to 1 1/2 minutes, depending on your equipment.
- Scrape the dip into a bowl and stir in the olives. Mince the remaining cilantro, sprinkle on top, and serve. If the dip thickens, you can always simply stir in a tablespoon or two of milk.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Originally published December 29, 2020
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
We’re attending a dinner focused on Portuguese dishes…We were assigned a Portuguese green olive dip. I searched online and found yours… but i don’t see any indication regarding advance preparation. Can it be made 2-3 days in advance?
Milly, I’d suggest making it the day before. If on the day you serve it, it has thickened too much, a small splash of milk will loosen it up.
What would you think of the recipe with natural green olives? Should salt be added to the blend? Started this recipe today (Friday) for Sunday, I still have time to buy the saltier olives…
Chris, I’ve used both green olives in a jar and oil-packed olives from an olive bar. Does that help?
Yes, thanks! I’ll keep the olives I have chopped and enjoy the dip soon.
Made this and it was heaven. We ate it over crispy potatoes and schmeared on gluten-free bread I’d baked for the neighbor (because gluten-free bread definitely needs something). The neighbor also happens to be allergic to eggs, so I’m pretty much a hero after offering this up. We’ll definitely continue to make this and play with new combinations. Thank you!
Elissa, and nothing make me feel more of a hero than making you a hero in your neighborhood. Where shall I send the red cape?
Can I use sardines instead?
Hi CJ. I’d say no, because I don’t think they would melt the way anchovies do, and they would give it a different flavor. That being said, I think the sauce would be great over grilled sardines!
I heard you describe this recipe on the Splendid Table earlier today. I wish you’d posted a few more of the variations like the cilantro & ginger. I remember you saying something about sriracha…I’m going to play with some variations this evening. Thanks for the hint.
Hi Kim, you can find several milk mayonnaise variations here. Plus check the comments for even more.