Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the Treasure of AutumnBy Ilyse Rathet
February 19, 2019
There are few experiences more uplifting for us during these short, gloomy winter days than the fresh, verdant, pungent aromas of this year’s crop of extra virgin olive oil. Newly-bottled samples of deep green Colli Etruschi, Madonna dell’Oliva and Casina Rossa EVOOs have been awakening us from our winter sluggishness and enlivening us with summery aromas of green grasses, bright leaves, and ripe almonds.
It will still be another two weeks until earlier bottlings like Colli Etruschi, Casina Rossa, Marino and Trampetti arrive. Others, like Madonna dell’Oliva and Mannucci Droandi, are just now undergoing bottling. The arrival of these precious anteprima (pre-debut) samples reminds us of the painstaking efforts involved in producing high-quality olive oil. Our producers have watched their groves for olive flowers, the signs of budding olives, waited out the long ripening season, and performed the risky fall harvest. A spotty pattern of autumn rain this year delayed many olive harvests in Italy; we heard some nervousness in the voices of our friends Nicola Fazi of Colli Etruschi and Antonino Mennella of Madonna as they pressed the last of their olives into oil.
In a tricky vintage year like this one, it will be more important than ever for health-minded consumers to remain conscious of quality. But, as chefs know, this is the prime season for dishes that rely heavily on the quality of their EVOO. We are eager to share the fruits of this year’s harvest with food lovers across America.
Our favorite uses for the new crop of EVOO:
– On fresh mozzarella with our new Mozzafiato from Miller Farms
– On Bruschetta (of course)
– Use to poach thinly sliced beef with arugula. Carve a slice of bread to mop up the juices.
– Use to sauté fresh greens
– Use to dress salad greens or shaved fennel, sprinkle with Piran Salt Flowers
– Use while baking your favorite EVOO cake recipe
– Use to poach seasonal Alaskan spot prawns
– Use with Michele Ferrante’s Myrtle Leaf to make farinata.