This pesto is also great with steamed, roasted, or grilled vegetables.
- 1 cup of basil leaves, loosely packed (see Note below)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- Pinch of hot red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/3 cup fresh-pressed extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Place the basil, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, and hot red pepper flakes in a blender
- or food processor and pulse until mixture is finely chopped.
- Slowly add the olive oil while the machine is running, until the pesto is emulsified.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Use as a drizzling sauce on steak, burgers, chicken, shrimp, salmon, or spiral zucchini “noodles,” or as a marinade for chicken or shrimp.
Note: If desired, you can make it an herb blend rather than using only basil. I like thyme, flat-leaf parsley, and rosemary; any blend is delicious!
Makes about 2/3 cup — Recipe adapted from coderedlifestyle.com
To make a quick and easy version of this dish, toss whatever broccoli you have in a plastic bag, drizzle with fresh-pressed extra virgin olive oil until well-coated (you can even do this a few hours in advance and pop in the fridge).
- 4 to 5 pounds broccoli
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and very thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh-pressed extra virgin olive oil (divided use)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- 2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets. Discard the rest of the stalks or save them for another use. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets. Place the florets on a rimmed sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer.
- Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 1/3 cup of olive of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until the florets are tender-crisp and browned to your liking.
- Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, and basil. Serve hot.
Variation: Easy Roasted Broccoli
- Spread oiled broccoli on a rimmed sheet pan in a single layer and season with salt, pepper, and hot red pepper flakes, if desired.
- Roast at 425 degrees until tender-crisp and browned to your liking. (I prefer mine with a bit of extra char and crispy edges!)
Enjoy while hot!
Serves 6 to 8 — Recipe adapted from coderedlifestyle.com
My favorite optional flavor additions, which you can use to make this recipe your own, include: chopped fresh herbs, monk fruit sweetener, Dijon mustard, minced shallots, crushed red pepper flakes, and anchovy paste added to taste.
- 2 tablespoons vinegar of your choice (red wine, white wine, balsamic, or apple cider vinegar)
- 1 small clove of garlic, peeled and finely minced
- 1/4 cup fresh-pressed extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Combine the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Taste for acid balance. If needed, add additional olive oil, monk fruit sweetener, or vinegar as desired.
Makes about 1/3 cup — Recipe adapted from coderedlifestyle.com
This pleasing appetizer goes together in 5 minutes or less, and is a perfect way to showcase fragrant fresh-pressed extra virgin olive oil.
- 2 ripe but firm avocados, halved, peeled, and pitted, each sliced lengthwise into 6 wedges
- 6 very thinly sliced pieces of prosciutto, halved
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Crunchy sea salt, such as Maldon
Wrap each avocado wedge in a piece of prosciutto. Arrange on a platter or plate and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Top with a few grains of crunchy sea salt. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 — Recipe courtesy of the Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club
A couple spoonsful of antioxidant-rich extra virgin olive oil boosts the nutritional value of your pre- or post-workout smoothie.
- 1/2 banana
- 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk 10 raw cashews
- 1 handful baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Pinch of salt (kosher or sea)
- Dash of cinnamon (optional)
Combine the fruits, almond milk, cashews, and spinach in a blender and run the machine until the mixture is smooth. With the machine running, add the olive oil, salt, and cinnamon, if using. Makes one 16-ounce smoothie.
Serves 1 — Recipe courtesy of the Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club
A few years ago, I met Australian celebrity chef Kylie Kwong at the Eveleigh farmers’ market in Sydney. Kylie’s well known for her Asian fusion food, which often features extra virgin olive oil. Serve this as a starter or side dish.
- 1 1/2 pounds Japanese eggplants 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use
- 7 cloves garlic, minced
- Several sprigs (about 1/4 bunch) fresh thyme
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- 3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
- Juice of 1 lemon Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Halve eggplants lengthways, leaving the stems intact. Place in a single layer, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the 1/3 cup of olive oil, sprinkle with the garlic and thyme sprigs, and season with salt. Tightly cover the baking sheet with foil. Bake for 45 minutes, or until eggplants are tender. Remove from oven and increase the oven temperature to 400°F. Remove the foil and the thyme sprigs. Bake the eggplants, uncovered, 15 more minutes, or until lightly browned. Arrange the eggplants on a platter and top with the sliced tomatoes. Drizzle with the lemon juice and remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 6 to 8 — Recipe adapted from Cooking with Heart and Soul with Kylie Kwong, abc.net.au
Fresh tomatoes usually get all the love, obscuring the fact that canned tomatoes, preserved at their peak in their own juices, are wonderful, too! This soup, though made of humble ingredients, is transformed when drizzled with exquisitely fresh olive oil.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 medium onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
- One 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand, with juices
- 2 sprigs fresh basil, plus torn leaves for serving
- 1/3 pound (about 6 ounces) fresh or stale rustic bread, crusts removed, torn or cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 cups warm vegetable or chicken stock, plus more as needed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add red pepper flakes and garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic just begins to turn golden. Add the onion and cook, stirring, just until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and their juices, along with the basil sprigs, and bring to a simmer.
Stir in the bread. Ladle the stock on top, stirring to combine. Simmer the soup, adding more stock as needed, until the bread is completely softened and custardy and soup has thickened to a porridge-like consistency, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Discard the basil sprigs.
Divide the soup between four bowls, generously drizzle the soup with olive oil, and grind black pepper on top. Garnish with torn basil leaves and serve.
Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from seriouseats.com
Halloumi, a brined goat’s milk cheese from Cyprus, is having a moment in Australia. On my most recent trip, it seemed to be everywhere! Because it has a high melting point, this firm, somewhat salty cheese can be grilled, fried, or sautéed without losing its shape. You can cut it into cubes, sauté it, then anoint with EVOO and coarse salt. Voila! An easy appetizer.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for the cheese
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or good quality red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces baby heirloom tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 hothouse cucumber, diced
- One head romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and torn
- 12 brined Kalamata olives, drained, pitted, and halved
- 1/2 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley
- 12 ounces of halloumi, cut crosswise into 1/3 inch thick slices
- 4 flatbreads or wraps, or use lettuce leaves for a low-carb option
- 4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
Make the salad: In a bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the lemon juice, and oregano and season with salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, olives, and parsley. Toss gently to coat the vegetables with the dressing.
Coat the slices of halloumi with olive oil. (To do this easily, pour some oil on a rimmed sheet pan and gently dredge the cheese through it, coating both sides.) Heat a grill pan to medium and grill the cheese for 1 to 2 minutes per side, turning with tongs or a thin-bladed spatula. (Work in batches if needed.)
Spread each of the flatbreads (or a lettuce leaf) with a tablespoon of the yogurt. Top each with a quarter of the salad and the halloumi. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 — Adapted from olivemagazine.com
Australian celebrity chef Curtis Stone champions healthy eating while minimizing dinner dishes with this recipe. Generally, we’ve noticed Aussies love their beets, even putting them on hamburgers.
- 4 medium beets, preferably golden (1 pound total), scrubbed and very thinly sliced
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use
- 1 1/2 pound skinless salmon fillet
- 1 tablespoon each finely chopped fresh chives, flat-leaf parsley, and tarragon
- 3 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 cups mixed baby greens
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 450°F. On a baking sheet, toss the beets with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the beets in the center of the baking sheet forming a bed large enough to hold the salmon. Roast the beets for about 20 minutes, or until tender-crisp.
Place the salmon on top of the beets. Brush the salmon with 1/2 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, mix the parsley, chives, and tarragon. Sprinkle all but 1 tablespoon of the mixed herbs over the salmon. Roast the salmon for about 15 minutes, or until cooked to medium-rare (slightly rosy in the center). Remove from the oven. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil, the shallots, lemon zest and juice into the remaining mixed herbs. Season the dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
Toss the mixed greens with 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Drizzle the remaining dressing over and around the salmon and beets and serve the greens alongside.
Serves 4 — Recipe from Curtis Stone
If you typically accompany your beef with Port wine or horseradish sauce, trade those for this bright, Asian-inflected “dressing” from Australian chef and restaurateur Kylie Kwong.
- 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 tablespoons peeled fresh ginger, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons shoyu or tamari soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/4 cup olive oil plus
- 2 tablespoons, divided use
- 1 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin, preferably center-cut
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup Sea salt
Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a small mixing bowl, combine the scallions, ginger, cilantro, shoyu, vinegar, and brown sugar. Slowly whisk in the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Set aside.
Rub the meat on all sides with the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, then season with salt. Preheat an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Sear the meat on all sides until nicely browned, turning as needed, 6 to 8 minutes.
Transfer the meat to a rack in a roasting pan. (Line the pan with foil for easier clean-up.) Roast until the internal temperature of the meat is 130°F for medium-rare, about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet. Do not overcook. Let the meat rest, covered with foil, for 10 minutes before slicing and serving with the sauce.
Serves 4 to 6 — Recipe adapted from Tree to Table by Patrice Newell (Penguin Global, 2009)