I remember the first time I tasted fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil the day I arrived at the Tuscan vineyard that was going to be my home for five years. I was blown away. I even coughed a little bit, as its pungency caught me by surprise. This was nothing I had ever tasted before. Immediately, I was won over. Here and there, I fell in love with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and its contribution not only to our health, but how it can add flavor to the dishes. A drizzle of good quality, robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil on soups, stews, grilled meats or fish is now a must in my kitchen. Back at Cosimo’s vineyard, we ended up bottling three different Extra Virgin Olive Oils from our 1,000 trees (as approximation: 1 tree = 1 liter of EVOO). It was a lot of work for only a few bottles, but the character of the oil really changed dramatically from one part of the land to the other. The Premium Blend became the finishing oil, starting a little more on the delicate side and then developing to a whirlwind of taste expressions on the palate. The Blend is a great robust oil that is perfect for dipping, to toss pasta, to roast pumpkin, to make a vinaigrette.
So with my passion for all things Extra Virgin Olive Oil, you can imagine how excited I was when the City Olive in Chicago – a great source for Extra Virgin Olive Oils from all over the world – hosted a book presentation by Fran Gage. Fran is one of America’s leading experts on Extra Virgin Olive Oil and has published this very lovely book on American EVOO (well, Californian really) producers, including 75 recipes differentiated by style of EVOO. A great read and a great source of inspiration, too!
So here is a recipe from Fran’s book “The New American Olive Oil”, perfect for these fall days and Cosimo’s Premium Blend