Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Dried Apricot and Cranberry Pilaf

Rice is the perfect vehicle for a wide range of flavors, both sweet and savory. I’m a fan of the subtle aroma of jasmine rice, but any long grain will work. Dried apricots and cranberries are evocative of the season and give this pilaf a sweet-tart taste, but feel free to use whatever dried fruits you like, instead of or even in addition to. When sprinkled on the finished dish, the fresh orange zest gives it a wonderful perfume. I love to use a Microplane grater because it makes such a fine zest, and it’s so easy to move over the entire surface of the peel to get all the goodness.


  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 cup jasmine or basmati rice
  • 2-1/4 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped fine
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon or more orange zest 
  • Pinch of cinnamon, optional


In a covered saucepan over medium-low heat, sauté the onion in the olive oil until translucent. Add the rice, stirring to coat it in the oil. (This helps keep the grains distinct in the finished dish.) Stir in the broth and increase the heat to medium. Bring to a low boil, cover, and cook until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in the apricots and cranberries and remove the pan from the heat. Put the cover back on, wait another 5 minutes, and then fluff the rice with a fork. Stir in the almonds, parsley, and freshly ground pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and grate the orange zest right over the top. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.

Yields 4 servings.

Slow-Roasted Zucchini Spears

Olive oil’s affinity for roasted vegetables is well known. Here, it coats zucchini, a somewhat watery vegetable that benefits from a long roast. Serve it with chicken pork, beef, or tofu.


  • 4 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup panko or other dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 mild red chile peppers, such as Fresno, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons torn fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment. In a bowl, toss the zucchini, garlic, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Place the zucchini on the sheet pan, cut sides up.

Step 2

Roast the zucchini for 90 minutes, or until the spears are tender and beginning to shrivel. Increase the oven temperature to 350°F. Continue roasting for 10 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to a serving plate or platter. Replace the parchment on the sheet pan.

Step 3

In a small bowl, combine the panko with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread the panko on the sheet pan and toast for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Sprinkle the zucchini with the panko, chiles, mint, Parmigiano-Reggiano, lemon zest, and a little more salt and pepper.

Serves 4 to 6 — Recipe adapted from

Shrimp with Pancetta and Rosemary (Gamberi al Rosmarino)

For snappier shrimp, brine in heavily salted water for 15 minutes before draining and sautéing. (If you brine, skip salting the shrimp before cooking.)


  • 8 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 16 medium shrimp, deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 small sprigs fresh rosemary, stemmed
  • 1 tomato, cored, seeded, and finely diced
  • Crusty bread, for serving


Heat the pancetta and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the pancetta with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Cook until pink, about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the wine, rosemary, and tomato and cook until the wine is reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with the pancetta and serve immediately with crusty bread.

Serves 2 as a light meal or 4 as an appetizer — Recipe from Saveur, March 2012