Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Mixed Green Salad with Citrus and Sherry Vinaigrette

This salad received rave reviews when I brought it to a neighbor’s dinner party. I’m sure amazon (dot) com noticed a run on Marcona almonds and Spanish guindillo peppers in the days that followed!

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • One seedless orange, preferably Cara Cara if available
  • One small pink grapefruit, or another orange 5 ounces (about 6 loosely packed cups)
  • mixed tender greens, such as arugula, baby kale, baby spinach, etc.
  • 12 Castelvetrano olives, pitted and halved
  • Small handful of Marcona almonds (about 1/4 cup), coarsely chopped
  • Pickled guindillo peppers (optional), for garnish

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea), or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon pimentón, or other paprika
  • 1 tablespoon best quality sherry or red wine vinegar, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon honey, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon warm olive brine or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Step 1

Using a small sharp knife, slice the top and bottom off the orange and grapefruit so they rest stably. Following the curve of the fruit, slice off the rind and white pith. Working over a shallow bowl, slice between the thin membranes, releasing wedges of the fruit. Squeeze the membranes to release any remaining juice. Set the fruit and juice aside.

Step 2

Make the vinaigrette: Add the salt, black pepper, pimentón, vinegar, honey, and olive brine to a small bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the mustard, olive oil, and any reserved juices from the fruit until emulsified. Taste, adding more salt, vinegar, or honey as needed.

Step 3

Place the greens in a large serving bowl. Just before serving, drizzle with half the vinaigrette and toss gently. Top with the orange and grapefruit wedges, olives, almonds, and guindillo peppers, if using. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette. Serve on chilled salad plates.

Serves 6

Salmon with Red Pepper Coulis

A purée of red peppers and onions makes a sweet accompaniment that won’t overpower the taste of the salmon. Coulis leftovers make a great sandwich spread and dip for crusty bread.

Ingredients

  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, plus more to taste
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste, plus more for the salmon
  • 1-1/2 to 2-pound salmon filet, skin on
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • A few springs of fresh thyme, chopped

Directions

Step 1

Turn on your oven to broil. Halve the peppers and remove the stems and ribs. Peel the onion and cut it into 4 thick slices. Brush a tablespoon of olive oil on a rimmed sheet pan. Place the onion slices on the sheet pan and top each one with a pepper half (this allows the onions to cook without burning). Broil until the pepper skins have blistered and blackened, about 10 minutes. Place the sheet pan on a heat-safe mat and cover the bell peppers with a domed lid for 10 minutes; this makes it easier to peel off the charred skin. Peel when cool.

Step 2

Place the peeled peppers in your food processor or blender along with the onions, all the pan juices, a tablespoon of olive oil, and the vinegar. Process until very smooth, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Step 3

Turn your oven to 350°F. Place a piece of parchment paper on the same sheet pan (no need to wash it) and brush on another tablespoon of olive oil. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the parchment, and brush with the final tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle on just a pinch of salt, sone black pepper, and the thyme, and bake until the top of the filet feels firm to the touch, about 15 minutes, depending on thickness.

Step 4

Use a sharp chef’s knife to slice the salmon into 4 portions. Place a pool of the pepper coulis on each of 4 dinner plates and top each with a salmon serving and a drizzle of olive oil. Pass the rest of the coulis separately.

Yields 4 servings

Vanilla and Olive Oil Custard Cream

Delicious spooned over the Flourless Pistachio Cake, this custard also makes a luscious pudding you can enjoy on its own.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or paste

Directions

Step 1

In a heat-safe bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Add the yolks and whisk until the mixture is light yellow.

Step 2

Place the milk and the heavy cream in a saucepan and scald them—you should see a light skin start to form, but don’t let the mixture come to a fast boil. Vigorously whisk 1/4 cup of the liquid into the egg mixture, and then slowly whisk in the rest.

Step 3

Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and bring to a medium boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Let it boil for 2 minutes as you continue to whisk; it should become quite
thick. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the olive oil and vanilla, and transfer to a glass
serving bowl. Let it cool slightly, then press a round of parchment paper over the
surface to prevent a skin from forming. Serve warm or chilled.

Serves 4 as a pudding, 10 as a sauce for the pistachio cake

Pico de Gallo

I love this Mexican condiment for its bold flavors and easy prep—no machines needed, just a good sharp knife to dice the main ingredients. Besides being a delicious dip for chips and veggies, it’s a great condiment for grilled chicken and fish for your next Taco Tuesday. 

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 large fresh tomatoes or 6 canned Roma tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 jalapeño or other chile pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (leaves and some stems)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground 
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Coarse sea salt 
  • Black Lime

Directions

Mince the garlic and set aside. Dice the tomatoes and onion. Wearing gloves to keep the powerful oils off your skin, slice the jalapeño in half lengthwise and use a small spoon to scrape out the ribs and seeds, and then cut it into a small dice. Place the vegetables in a large bowl along with the garlic and cilantro, and toss well. Fold in the cumin and lime juice. Taste, add a few twists of the black peppercorn grinder and a sprinkle of the salt, and taste again, adding more salt and pepper as desired. Let the flavors meld at room temperature for 30 minutes and then refrigerate until serving. Just before serving, top with a sprinkle of black lime.

Yields about 2 cups