Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Chili-Rubbed Skirt Steak

Red meat is a staple in Chilean homes, with asados (barbecues) being a popular form of entertainment for families. Here, beefy-tasting skirt steak is marinated for several hours, then quickly grilled (preferably to medium-rare for maximum tenderness). Before serving, anoint it with additional fresh-pressed olive oil—Mother Nature’s perfect sauce. Pour a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.


  • Four 8-ounce portions (2 pounds) of trimmed skirt steak
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons pure chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil for oiling the grill grate
  • Chopped fresh chives, flat-leaf parsley, or cilantro leaves, for serving


Step 1

Make the marinade: In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of balsamic, the garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, the remainder of the spices, and the lemon juice.

Step 2

Arrange the steaks in a glass baking pan just large enough to hold them. Pour the marinade over the steaks, and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

Step 3

Remove the steaks from the marinade and discard the marinade. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and season on both sides with salt and pepper.

Step 4

Set up your grill for direct grilling and heat to high. (Alternatively, cook the steaks on your stovetop using a cast iron grill pan or skillet.) Brush and oil the grill grate with vegetable oil.

Step 5

Arrange the steaks on the grill grate. Grill until done to your liking, 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the meat.

Step 6

Let the steaks rest on a cutting board for 3 minutes, then slice crosswise on a sharp diagonal. Transfer the meat and any accumulated juices to a platter. Drizzle with olive oil and a few dribbles of balsamic vinegar. Top with the chives, parsley, or cilantro.

Serves 4 generously — Recipe adapted from

Does eating a Mediterranean diet protect against memory loss and dementia?

Adapted from an article from the American Academy of Neurology, May 6, 2021

Eating a Mediterranean diet that is rich in fish, vegetables, and olive oil may protect your brain from protein buildup and shrinkage that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study. The research is published in the May 5, 2021, online issue of Neurology.

The study looked at abnormal proteins called amyloid and tau. Amyloid is a protein that forms into plaques, while tau is a protein that forms into tangles. Both are found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease but may also be found in the brains of older people with normal cognition.

The Mediterranean diet includes high intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits, cereals, fish, and monounsaturated fatty acids such as olive oil, and low intake of saturated fatty acids, dairy products, and meat.

“Our study suggests that eating a diet that’s high in unsaturated fats, fish, fruits and vegetables, and low in dairy and red meat may actually protect your brain from the protein buildup that can lead to memory loss and dementia,” said study author Tommaso Ballarini, PhD, of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Bonn, Germany. “These results add to the body of evidence that show what you eat may influence your memory skills later on.”

The study involved 512 people. Of those, 169 were cognitively normal, while 343 were identified as being at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers looked at how closely people followed the Mediterranean diet based on their answers to a questionnaire asking how much they ate of 148 items over the previous month. People who often ate healthy foods typical of the Mediterranean diet, like fish, vegetables, and fruit, and only occasionally ate foods not typical of the Mediterranean diet like red meat, received the highest scores, for a maximum score of nine.

Cognitive skills were assessed with an extensive test set for Alzheimer’s disease progression that looked at five different functions, including language, memory, and executive function. All the participants had brain scans to determine their brain volume. In addition, the spinal fluid of 226 study participants was tested for amyloid and tau protein biomarkers.

Researchers then looked at how closely someone followed the Mediterranean diet, and the relationship to their brain volume, tau and amyloid biomarkers, and cognitive skills. After adjusting for factors like age, sex, and education, researchers found that in the area of the brain most closely associated with Alzheimer’s disease, each point lower people scored on the Mediterranean diet scale equated to almost one year of brain aging.

When looking at amyloid and tau in people’s spinal fluid, those who did not follow the diet closely had higher levels of biomarkers of amyloid and tau pathology than those who did. When it came to a test of memory, people who did not follow the diet closely scored worse than those who did.

“More research is needed to show the mechanism by which a Mediterranean diet protects the brain from protein buildup and loss of brain function, but findings suggest that people may reduce their risk for developing Alzheimer’s by incorporating more elements of the Mediterranean diet into their daily diets,” Ballarini said.

Reference: Ballarini T, van Len DM, Brunner J, et al. Mediterranean diet, Alzheimer disease biomarkers and brain atrophy in old age. Neurology. 2021;

Pan-Roasted Halibut with Jalapeño Vinaigrette

With its clean, mild taste, firm texture, and payload of omega-3 fatty acids, halibut pairs beautifully with robust extra virgin olive oils. It is among the largest flat fish in the world, weighing up to 500 pounds!


  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons very finely chopped shallot or red onion
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon very finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium jalapeño
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Six 6-ounce halibut fillets
  • Fresh watercress or arugula, for serving


Step 1

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and onion with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes, then whisk in the honey, cilantro, mustard, garlic, and 1/4 cup of the olive oil.

Step 2

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil over high heat until just smoking. Add the jalapeño and cook, turning, until charred and blistered on all sides, about 2 minutes; let it cool slightly. Slip off the charred skin. Discard the stem and cut the jalapeño in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and finely chop the jalapeño. Stir the jalapeño into the vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper.

Step 3

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil over moderately high heat. Season the halibut fillets with salt and pepper and cook, turning once, until they are opaque throughout, about 8 minutes. Transfer the halibut to a platter. Whisk the vinaigrette, spoon it over the fish, and serve with watercress.

Serves 6 — Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, March 2004

Shrimp with Avocado Cilantro Sauce

Shrimp preparations are a specialty of Chile’s small coastal villages. If you don’t want to fuss with skewers, grill the shrimp in a grill wok or grill basket. The sauce is best when made shortly before serving.


For the shrimp and marinade:

  • 2 pounds jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Juice of one large lime
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons pure chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon each coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)

For the avocado cilantro sauce:

  • 2 large ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek-style yogurt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Step 1

Make the marinade: In a small bowl whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Pour into a large resealable plastic bag and add the shrimp. Toss to coat and marinate for 30 minutes. Drain the shrimp, dry on paper towels, and thread on metal or bamboo skewers. (Discard the marinade.)

Step 2

Shortly before grilling, make the avocado cilantro sauce: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the avocado, sour cream, olive oil, garlic, lime juice, and cilantro. Run the machine in short bursts until the sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to an attractive serving bowl. If not serving immediately, place plastic wrap directly on top of the sauce to delay oxidation (browning).

Step 3

Preheat the grill to medium-high. (Alternatively, use a cast iron grill pan on the stovetop.) Grill the shrimp on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, or until opaque and no longer pink. Serve immediately with the sauce. (Note: Metal skewers will be very hot.)

Serves 8 as a starter or 4 as a main course — Recipe adapted from