Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Big-Flavour Broccoli with Manchego

Reducing food waste is an objective we’d all do well to adopt. Part of the appeal of this recipe is its utilization of broccoli stems, which are often condemned to the trash or garbage disposal system. If you’re not a fan of umami-rich anchovies or don’t have them on hand, substitute 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce.


  • 1 pound broccoli (1 to 2 heads, with stems)
  • 6 to 7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 small red onion, peeled, cut into
  • 1/2-inch-thick wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely grated Manchego
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Trim only the very bottom of the broccoli stem (stems). Peel the tough outer layer, from the florets to the base of the stalk. Starting from the stem end, cut the broccoli stem(s) on a sharp diagonal until you reach the florets. Break the florets apart into bite-size pieces.

Step 2

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large heatproof skillet (we prefer cast iron) over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the broccoli; season with salt and the hot red pepper flakes, if using. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the broccoli is bright green and lightly charred, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Wipe out the skillet.

Step 3

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the anchovies and cook, breaking them apart with a spoon, until they are broken down and the garlic is beginning to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Return the broccoli to the skillet and toss to coat with the remaining oil (1 to 2 tablespoons). Transfer to the oven and roast, tossing once or twice, until the broccoli is browned and tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully transfer the skillet (it will be screaming hot) to a heatproof surface.

Step 4

Divide the broccoli among 4 plates. Sprinkle with the Manchego. Serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit, November 2019


Food historians say that paella (literally,“pan”) first appeared near the coastal city of Valencia in the 18th century. It’s a festive meal, one I enjoyed preparing recently at a private cooking class in Madrid taught by chef Arantxa Lamas, a Le Cordon Bleu graduate. Though traditionally grilled, you can also cook it on your stovetop.


  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, trimmed, cut into 2 by 1/4-inch strips
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 ripe tomato, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 2 cups short grain rice, such as bomba, Calaspara, or arborio
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, preferably Spanish
  • 4 to 5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade, or more as needed
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 1/2 pound large, head-on shrimp or prawns
  • 12 mussels, scrubbed
  • 1/4 cup cooked green peas


Step 1

Place the saffron in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon warm water. Let it soak for 5 minutes.

Step 2

Set up your grill for direct grilling and build a 3-zone fire. Ideally, you’d work on a large charcoal grill or gas grill. If working on a charcoal grill, toss a log or some wood chunks on the fire to generate smoke. If working on a gas grill, place wood chips (soaked in water for 30 minutes, then drained) in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch.

Step 3

Place the paella pan over the hottest part of your fire and heat the olive oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook over high heat, stirring often, until the onions begin to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, parsley, and tomato halfway through (after 2 minutes). If the mixture starts to burn, slide the pan to a cooler part of the grill.

Step 4

Stir in the rice and sauté until the grains look shiny and are coated with oil, 1 minute. Stir in the soaked saffron and wine and boil for 1 minute. Stir in 4 cups of stock and adjust the heat (by moving the paella pan closer or further away from hot part of the fire) to obtain a gentle simmer. Gently simmer the rice until soft, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining cup of stock if needed, and salt and pepper to taste. Season the chicken thighs and shrimp with salt and pepper.

Step 5

Meanwhile, on another part of the fire, grill the chicken thighs, starting skin-side down. This will take 6 to 8 minutes per side, working over medium-high heat. Once the chicken thighs are browned and cooked through, add them to the paella. After about 12 minutes, place the mussels on the grate and grill until the shells pop open. Transfer the bivalves to the paella with tongs, taking care not to spill the juices. Brush and oil the grate and place the shrimp on the grate. Grill until firm, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Add the shrimp to the paella as well as the peas.

Step 6

Taste the paella for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed. If you’ve cooked the paella properly, the rice will be tender just as all the stock is absorbed and the proteins are cooked. You may need to add more stock or you may need to cook the rice a little longer to absorb any excess stock. Don’t worry—your paella will only improve in the process. Serve at once, with a crisp dry Spanish wine such as an Albariño or Txakoli.

Serves 6 — Recipe adapted from Project Fire with Steven Raichlen, American Public Television

Study shows extra virgin olive oil staves off multiple forms of dementia in mice

Adapted from an article in Science Codex by the Temple University Health System, November 25, 2019

Boosting brain function is key to staving off the effects of aging. And if there was one thing every person should consider doing right now to keep their brain young, it is to add extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) to their diet, according to research by scientists at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM).

Previous LKSOM research on mice showed that EVOO preserves memory and protects the brain against Alzheimer’s disease.

In a new study in mice published online in the journal Aging Cell, LKSOM scientists show that yet another group of aging-related diseases can be added to that list—tauopathies, which are characterized by the gradual buildup of an abnormal form of a protein called tau in the brain. This process leads to a decline in mental function, or dementia. The findings are the first to suggest that EVOO can defend against a specific type of mental decline linked to tauopathy known as frontotemporal dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease is itself one form of dementia. It primarily affects the hippocampus—the memory storage center in the brain. Frontotemporal dementia affects the areas of the brain near the forehead and ears. Symptoms typically emerge between ages 40 and 65 and include changes in personality and behavior, difficulties with language and writing, and eventual deterioration of memory and ability to learn from prior experience.

Senior investigator Domenico Praticò, MD, describes the new work as supplying another piece in the story about EVOO’s ability to ward off cognitive decline and to protect the junctions where neurons come together to exchange information, which are known as synapses.

“The realization that EVOO can protect the brain against different forms of dementia gives us an opportunity to learn more about the mechanisms through which it acts to support brain health,” he said.

In previous work using a mouse model, in which animals were destined to develop Alzheimer’s disease, Dr. Praticò’s team showed that EVOO supplied in the diet protected young mice from memory and learning impairment as they aged. Most notably, when the researchers looked at brain tissue from mice fed EVOO,

they did not see features typical of cognitive decline, particularly amyloid plaques—sticky proteins that impair communication pathways between neurons in the brain. Rather, the animals’ brains looked normal.

The team’s new study shows that the same is true in the case of mice engineered to develop tauopathy. In these mice, normal tau protein turns defective and accumulates in the brain, forming harmful tau deposits, also called tangles. Tau deposits, similar to amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease, block neuron communication and thereby impair thinking and memory, resulting in frontotemporal dementia.

Tau mice were put on a diet supplemented with EVOO at a young age, comparable to about age 30 or 40 in humans. Six months later, when mice were the equivalent of age 60 in humans, tauopathy-prone animals

experienced a 60 percent reduction in damaging tau deposits, compared to littermates that were not fed EVOO. Animals on the EVOO diet also performed better on memory and learning tests than animals deprived of EVOO.

Dr. Praticò and colleagues now plan to explore what happens when EVOO is fed to older animals that have begun to develop tau deposits and signs of cognitive decline, which more closely reflects the clinical scenario in humans.

Reference: Lauretti E, Nenov M, Dincer O, Iuliano L, Praticò D. Extra virgin olive oil improves synaptic activity, short-term elasticity, memory, and neuropathology in a tauopathy model. Aging Cell. 2020;19(1):e13076.

Rack of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary

The province of Aragon in northeastern Spain (between Barcelona and Madrid) is known for its lean and tender lamb. Lamb cooked in clay ovens is a specialty, in fact, of a Spanish restaurant chain called Asador de Aranda. In the meantime, satisfy your lamb cravings with this easy-to-prepare rack of lamb flavored with garlic, rosemary, and fresh extra virgin olive oil.


  • 2 racks of lamb (each with 8 bones), frenched
  • 6 large cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary needles, plus extra sprigs for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper


Step 1

Line a rimmed sheet pan or shallow roasting pan with foil.

Step 2

In the bowl of a small food processor, combine the garlic, olive oil, rosemary, and balsamic vinegar. Pulse to finely chop the garlic and rosemary. Coat the lamb on all sides with the mixture. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Step 3

Arrange the racks of lamb bone side down on the sheet pan or roasting pan. Allow the lamb to stand at room temperature for one hour.

Step 4

Preheat the oven to 450°F and make sure the oven rack is in the middle. Roast the lamb for 20 to 25 minutes (for medium-rare), or until the internal temperature reads 125°F. (Roast the lamb longer if you prefer it more done.) Loosely cover the lamb with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Carve into individual chops before serving. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired, and serve with additional olive oil.

Serves 6 — Recipe courtesy of the Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club