Olive Oil: Simple, Healthy, Delicious
As Sicilians, we put olive oil on and in almost everything. This “liquid gold” has been found to be useful for marinating, dressings, sautéing, basting, mixing and much more.
Here are three easy dishes using our own Fresh Press Extra Virgin olive oil, specifically the Arbequina varietal we’re giving to you for free this week. Enjoy!
Traditional Crostini with Sundried Tomatoes
Earlier this week I toasted some crusty Italian bread (it was a couple days old) that was perfect for a crostini because it sucks up the olive oil.
In a bowl, mix together 1 clove crushed garlic, 1 TBL finely crushed sun dried tomatoes (packed in oil as they are soft but have an intense flavor), ¼ cup Arbequina olive oil, sprinkle of dried rosemary and salt & pepper. Let it sit for about 10 minutes to meld the flavor.
Meanwhile, lightly toast one side of the bread and flip to barely toast the other side under the oven broiler. With a pastry brush, heavily brush on the oil mix, making sure each piece gets their share of tomato and garlic. Pop them back under the broiler for a touch.
- I served this with prawns and baby scallops which I dusted and quick-cooked (30-60 sec) at a high temp in a sauté pan with Arbequina and a touch of salt & pepper. Then I added in about 2 tablespoons my special sauce, which is somewhat of a morphed Romenesco sauce, and sauted for 30 more seconds.
The fresh press olive oil really adds to the hummus with its special, fruity flavor.
In a food processor combine ½ cup sesame seeds with ¼ cup olive oil and process about 4 minutes. Add in the following: 1 cup garbanzo beans, ½ TBL sundried tomatoes, drained (oil packed), 1 clove crushed garlic, 4 TBL fresh-squeezed lemon juice and salt & pepper.
Process all together until very smooth. Pour into a bowl and drizzle olive oil on the top.
Serve with carrot and celery sticks, pita or whatever other veggies you wish!
I love to make outstanding citrus vinaigrettes this time of year. They are outstanding now because of the new citrus season, and salads really help keep me fit with the onslaught of holiday party meals. It’s a great time of the year to be creative and experiment with local citrus as it coincides with the fresh press of our California and European olives. I like to work the different cultivars to take advantage of their unique tastes.
I’m currently using three of our fresh press oils so I’m not bored with the “same old taste:” Pendolino-Casaliva from Italy, Frantoio-Spoletto also from Italy and an Arbequina from our very own Sacramento Valley. All three out of this world great tasting!
A little very finely chopped shallot and/or a bit of minced garlic and salt & pepper added to our citrus and olive oil makes a wonderful vinaigrette. Here are some vinaigrette suggestions:
- Meyer lemons are in and make a wonderful dressing using the zest and juice as the acid base.
- The blood oranges and most of the other local citrus will be in soon. These all make great components to the acid portion of the vinaigrette… the zest also adds a nice component.
Nana’s Sunday Vegetables
This recipe comes to us compliments of Veronica Foods, makers of Delizia brand olive oil. The roasted veggies are a perfect compliment to any meal, particularly roasted chicken or grilled tri-tip roast.
- 1 cup Sigona’s Fresh Press Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 5 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese (we recommend Emmi)
- 2 sliced large yellow onions
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1 pound medium round potatoes
- 1 ½ pounds medium tomatoes
- ¾ pound zucchini
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish with olive oil. In a medium sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the baking dish. Slice the potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes in 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place them alternately in the dish on top of the onions, as tight as possible in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme and drizzle with 2 more tablespoons of olive oil. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Uncover the dish, sprinkle the cheese on top, and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until browned. Serve warm.
See two more olive oil recipes from Veronica Foods in our story about Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil!