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.

A bowl with creamy green olive dip behind five slices of baguette with dip on one

Portuguese Green Olive Dip

5 / 8 votes
For this Portuguese green olive dip, olives are stirred into a whipped eggless ‘mayonnaise’ made with milk, oil, anchovies, garlic, and white pepper.
David Leite
Servings12 servings | 1 1/2 cups
Calories140 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes


  • 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.
The New Portuguese Table by

Adapted From

The New Portuguese Table

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Serving: 2 tablespoonsCalories: 140 kcalCarbohydrates: 1 gProtein: 1 gFat: 15 gSaturated Fat: 2 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8 gMonounsaturated Fat: 4 gTrans Fat: 0.1 gCholesterol: 3 mgSodium: 193 mgPotassium: 30 mgFiber: 0.3 gSugar: 0.4 gVitamin A: 109 IUVitamin C: 0.4 mgCalcium: 18 mgIron: 0.2 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2009 David Leite. Photo © 2009 Nuno Correla. All rights reserved.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    WOW! I made a trial run of this today for a wedding I’m catering on Saturday. It. Is. Amazing. Thanks very much.

    1. Pamela, you’re more than welcome. If you’re making it in large quantities be mindful of the emulsion. For the photo shoot, the stylists made it in big batches, but it took far longer to thicken. Also, stir in the olives not too long before serving.

  2. When I first saw this recipe I was pretty sure I wouldn’t make it. Then I kept seeing it on the side bar…the picture looked SO good! Still, I was a bit intimidated. I whipped this together this morning using a hand blender and a two cup capacity glass measuring cup. It’s really good!

    At first I thought the mixture would never emulsify. It stayed pretty loose until about two-thirds of the oil was in. I think I may have poured the oil in too slowly. All the sudden it was thick, and all the oil wasn’t in yet. I ended up adding a few teaspoons more of milk and was done.

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, Mr. Leite!

    1. Casey, I’m so glad you tried the dip. Emulsifications can be tricky, until you’ve tried a few. But you did it perfectly. Using a hand blender is how I get the absolute best results. And you did exactly as I do: stop just as the right texture is reached. You may have some oil left over, you may need a bit more. Each time is different. I hope you make the dip many more times.

  3. I made this dip for a dinner party a couple of weeks ago. I found this recipe last minute and didn’t make it first to try, so I was slightly hesitant. I found the ingredients easily, even though it was a last minute idea. It started the night off perfectly! Everyone was so excited by it. The anchovies and green olives weren’t overwhelming, yet loud enough to be so very tasty. All I heard for 1/2 an hour was “yum, yum, yum.” We served it with a Pinot Grigio, which went well. This dip was a breeze to make. I want to do it a few more times to get it just right. I need to drizzle the olive oil even more slowly, so as to get a thicker consistency. I look forward to the practice. Thanks for stimulating my taste buds and for the inspiration!

    1. Sarai, so glad you liked it. Yes pouring in the oil slowly and giving it more time to whip up time helps consistency. Also I find that If I don’t rinse the olives, it makes the dip thicker, but it can have a slightly salty/briny edge to it.