Portuguese Green Olive Dip

For this Portuguese green olive dip, olives are stirred into a whipped eggless ‘mayonnaise’ made with milk, oil, anchovies, garlic, and white pepper.

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

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

  • Quick Glance
  • (6)
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Makes 12 (2-tbsp) servings | 1 1/2 cups
5/5 - 6 reviews
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Special Equipment: A small mini chop or hand blender



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. Originally published July 20, 2009.

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  1. I’m planning to make this for a dinner party on Friday (in two days), and I’m wondering if I can do step 1 in advance, say in the morning, or whether the whole thing needs to be made last-minute. I’m guessing I can do step 1 in advance, but a confirmation would be lovely. 🙂

    Thank you! So excited about using one of your recipes finally!

  2. Sounds amazing! I have to make an appetizer for a party in 2 weeks and the folks are on a low-carb diet. Could I use heavy cream instead of milk? This sounds so tasty I wouldn’t mind eating any mistakes that result!

  3. Mmmm…olives and cilantro for me, anchovies for my husband. I am loving this! What a fabulous treat to serve before a meal with a glass of wine. And I am fascinated by the milk + oil process! Must try!

  4. I finally got around to trying this (as opposed to just lusting after it). Wow! Mine ended up fiendishly salty (I think the brand of anchovies I used was more than usually salty, honestly, or maybe I put a bit more of them in than I should’ve) but I loved it anyway, spread on sourdough toast, cooked artichoke leaves, and raw carrots.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Linda. If you feel the anchovies are too salty, you could give them a (very) light rinse and pat dry before using them. Not too much af a rinse, as you do need to keep some salt for this velvety dip.

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