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. Allon, you can omit the anchovies, add about 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to the milk, and proceed with the recipe. You might need to add a bit more oil, as the anchovies add body. In the book I have three other maioneses de leite–cilantro and ginger, tomato, and curry–and all are vegetarian.

  1. Just made it. WONDERFUL. I don’t have a stick wand [blender] anymore, so my solution was to double the recipe and use the blender. Worked great. I can see why you use it on fish. It’d be terrific on salmon. By the way, the recipe didn’t specify, but do you use manzanillas that are stuffed with pimento or unstuffed? It’s hard to find them unstuffed here, but I went ahead and de-stuffed them myself. Seemed best. I also used anchovy paste instead of filets. I used about 6″ worth…remember though, I doubled the recipe.

    1. MaryEllen, so glad you liked it. Doubling the recipe is a good idea, if you can use that much at once! As far as the olives, always use unstuffed. The pimento will give a very different flavor to the dip. And I think the anchovy paste is genius. I stayed away from it when developing the recipe because it’s not available in all markets. So I stayed with the tried and true.

  2. Oh, goodie! A sneak peak. I love this dip and you are right, it is absolutely delicious as a topping for grilled fish and chicken. Perfect for grilling season.

    1. Because it’s so good on grilled fish and chicken, I wanted to get this out sooner rather than later. Remember how much fiddling went into finding the perfect proportions?!

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