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.

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

Prep 5 mins
Total 5 mins
Appetizer
Portuguese
5 / 6 votes
Print RecipeBuy the The New Portuguese Table cookbook

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Equipment

  • A small mini chop or hand blender

Ingredients 

  • 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

Directions
 

  • 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.
Print RecipeBuy the The New Portuguese Table cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Originally published December 29, 2020

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Add me to the “happy campers” from this unusual emulsion based spread. I loved Pielove’s directive of “half a pencil thin” flow of the oil while making this recipe. I used my immersion blender and the results were delicious. The only caveat from such a rich spread is not to pile it too high onto the crostinis. So flavorful and delicious! Cheers, Jeff

  2. I noticed that this recipe differs in the others that there is no mention of lemon juice. I tried two batches, one in a mini chop, and one with a wand blender. The one with the wand came out a little thicker, but nowhere near as thick as I think it should be. I wanted to make some for a party tomorrow, and thought about making a double batch in a standard blender. Any hints?

    P.S. My wife bought me your book for my birthday. I love it. Obrigado!

    1. Steve, thanks for the kind words!

      There’s no lemon juice in this version because the anchovies add the oomph to thicken it. I’d suggest using the wand blender (not doubling the amount) and going as long as you need to thicken it. When I tested it, I used all types of handheld blenders and tried to find an average time. Yours might require longer whizzing. But I assure, it will thicken! Also, when the olives are mixed in, the brine in them will also thicken it—which is why in the second printing of the book, we added the instructions to thin the mixture with a bit of milk if it gets too thick.

  3. 5 stars
    This is a delicious spread, but strongly flavored– I only used 6 anchovies and that was PLENTY. The milk-oil emulsion makes for a light dip that beautifully conveys the garlic-anchovy-olive flavors without the usual heaviness associated with a cheese-laden spread. Tasty and perfect with cocktails and crusty french bread. If you have trouble forming an emulsion, you have to pour in the oil slowly– the stream of oil should be about half as thick as a pencil. I had no trouble making this thicken in an ordinary blender.

    1. Kelly, the oil in oil-packed anchovies add a more body and anchovy taste to the dip. You can certainly try the salt-packed version, but you might need to add a dribble more oil and process it a bit longer.

  4. 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.

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