Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Roasted Peppers with Parmesan Breadcrumbs

This simple but jewel-like appetizer or side dish can be served hot or at room temperature. Don’t forget the last drizzle of olive oil for a spectacular presentation!

Ingredients

  • 3 bell peppers of similar size, any color
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse sale (kosher or sea)
  • 1 cup panko or other bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon merquén (see Note) or smoked paprika
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Directions

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easier clean-up. Place the bell peppers upright on a cutting board. Working around the stems and avoiding the seedy core, slice straight downward to remove 4 lobes from each pepper. With a paring knife, carefully trim off any white ribs, flush with the pepper.

Step 2

Arrange the pepper lobes, skin side down, on the baking sheet. Drizzle with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and season with salt.

Step 3

In a medium bowl, gently mix the panko, Parmesan, granulated garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt with your hands. Using your fingertips, pat about 2 tablespoons of the breadcrumb mixture onto each piece of pepper. Drizzle the peppers with another tablespoon of oil.

Step 4

Bake the peppers until bottoms are deeply browned and breadcrumbs are golden, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Step 5

Transfer the peppers to a platter. Drizzle with more olive oil. Sprinkle with the parsley and merquén. Serve with lemon wedges.

Note: Merquén (sometimes spelled merkén) is a smoky spice blend popular in Chilean cuisine. You can find it at specialty spice markets or online.

Serves 4 to 6 — Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, May 2018

Portobello Mushrooms with Chipotle Guacamole

The mushrooms can be grilled up to a day ahead, but make the guacamole an hour or two before serving. Cover tightly with plastic wrap (make sure the wrap makes contact with the guacamole) and refrigerate.

Ingredients

  • 12 portobello mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon or lime juice, divided use
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo, minced
  • 1/3 cup minced red onion
  • 1/2 cup grated queso fresco

Directions

Step 1

Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Cut off the stems and discard; set the caps aside.

Step 2

Make the marinade: Combine the oil, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Brush the mushroom caps with the marinade and let stand for 15 minutes.

Step 3

Grill the mushrooms, gill side up, over medium heat on a covered grill until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. (If you don’t have a grill, you can bake the mushrooms on a rimmed baking sheet in a 375°F oven.) Pat the excess moisture from the center of mushrooms with a paper towel and place them, gill side up, on a serving platter.

Step 4

Cut each avocado in half and remove the pit. Peel and mash with a fork in a bowl. Stir in the chipotles, onion, the remaining lemon juice, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.

Step 5

Spoon the guacamole onto the mushrooms. Sprinkle each with queso fresco.

Serves 10 to 12 as an appetizer — Recipe adapted from latimes.com

Grilled Cauliflower Fajitas

With over 6 percent of Americans identifying as vegan and millions more describing themselves as “vegetarianinclined,” a meatless main course option belongs in your recipe repertoire.

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, green leaves and stem removed
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeds and veins removed
  • 1 poblano pepper, stemmed, seeds and veins removed
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon merquén or smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 bunch fresh herbs (such as cilantro,parsley, or basil), chopped
  • Corn tortillas, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Your favorite salsa or pico de gallo, for serving

Directions

Step 1

Cut the cauliflower into florets and slice the red and poblano peppers into long strips.

Step 2

Combine the cauliflower, peppers and onions in a large bowl and toss until combined.

Step 3

Whisk together the ancho powder, paprika, ground cumin, sea salt, and olive oil. Add to the cauliflower mixture and toss until the vegetables are thoroughly coated.

Step 4

Heat a grill pan or grill (use a vegetable grate or basket) over medium heat and grill the cauliflower mixture until slightly charred and tender-crisp, about 10 minutes.

Step 5

Remove from the grill and sprinkle with pine nuts and herbs. Cut any large pieces of cauliflower into smaller bites. Serve with corn tortillas, lime wedges, and your favorite salsa.

Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from El Toro Blanco, New York, NY

Fresh Tomato Soup

Make this simple soup when sun-ripened tomatoes come into the market. If you’re unfamiliar with it, burrata is a water-packed, milky mozzarella-like cheese filled with cream. Substitute a spoonful of fresh ricotta if burrata is unavailable.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 carrot, finely diced
  • 2 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 3 pounds tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Burrata cheese, for garnish

Directions

Step 1

In a small, heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, basil and thyme. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Step 2

Stir in the tomatoes, along with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste. Simmer for 20 minutes to break down the tomatoes and marry the flavors.

Step 3

Remove from the heat and purée the soup in a blender or food processor. (Do not fill the blender jar more than half full with the soup; process in batches with a folded kitchen towel held firmly over the lid.) Strain the soup through a fine mesh strainer or food mill. Serve the soup hot, with a small spoonful of burrata and a drizzle of olive oil.

Serves 6 to 8 — Recipe from Angelini Osteria, Los Angeles, CA

Lemon Blueberry Zucchini Cake

This beautiful cake is dense, as it was originally adapted from a quick-bread recipe. Before juicing the lemon, remove the zest in long thin strips and reserve for a garnish.

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 3 eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups finely shredded and lightly drained zucchini
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries, a few reserved for garnish

For the Lemon Buttercream:

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoons salt

Directions

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans with butter and flour or nonstick baking spray. (You can also line the bottoms of the pans with parchment rounds, if desired.)

Step 2

Make the cake: Grate a large zucchini (or two small zucchini) and place in a clean dish towel. Lift the edges of the towel up and squeeze some of the extra moisture out, but you do not want the zucchini to be dry. You want to have about 2 cups of shredded drained zucchini. Set aside.

Step 3

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar with a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer. Fold in the zucchini.

Step 4

Slowly add in the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Gently fold in the blueberries. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.

Step 5

Bake the cakes for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in the pans, then turn the cakes onto wire racks to cool completely.

Step 6

Make the Lemon Buttercream: Combine the butter, sugar, and salt and beat until smooth. Add the lemon juice and vanilla and continue to beat for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until creamy. Place the cake on a cakestand or plate. Frost the top with the Lemon Buttercream. Top with the second cake and frost the top generously. (If desired, you can frost the sides, too. We like the “naked” look.) Garnish with reserved blueberries. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 8 — Recipe adapted from iambaker.net

Oatmeal With Olive Oil And Berries

Fruit-topped oatmeal drizzled with extra virgin olive oil is a lovely way to greet the morning, hitting just the right savory and sweet notes. Use whatever fruit you have on hand—sliced bananas, diced fresh peaches, strawberries, etc.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup blueberries or raspberries or a mix
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds, walnuts, or pecans
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Step 1

In a medium saucepan, bring the oats, water, and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt to a low boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring frequently, until the oatmeal is creamy (about 6 to 7 minutes).

Step 2

Spoon the cereal into 2 bowls, then top with the fruit and nuts. Garnish with a pinch of fresh thyme leaves and a healthy drizzle of olive oil.

Step 3

Finish with a pinch of flaky sea salt (crush it between your fingers to break up the flakes).

Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from annefood.com

Black Bean and Corn Salad

This colorful side dish is potluck-worthy, and with the addition of sliced grilled chicken, pork, or steak, is substantial enough to serve as a main course. Diced avocado is an optional ingredient. If you’re short on time, substitute canned black beans (drained, thoroughly rinsed, and drained again) for the dried.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 1 small carrot, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 ears grilled or boiled corn, kernels cut off
  • 2 grilled red peppers, finely diced
  • 8 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste

Directions

Step 1

Place the beans, onion, carrot, bay leaf, and garlic in a large saucepan and add water until the beans are covered by about an inch. Bring to a boil, then partially cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the beans are almost tender, about 2 hours, adding water as needed.

Step 2

Add the salt and continue cooking until tender. Drain the beans, discarding the onion, carrot, garlic, and bay leaf.

Step 3

In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn kernels, red pepper, green onions, and cilantro. Stir in the olive oil, lime juice, and chili powder, and adjust the seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 8 to 10 — Recipe adapted from the Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2004

Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Bacon

My wife, Meghan, and I enjoyed this simple salad on the first day of our Chilean olive oil expedition, and we recreated it as soon as we returned to Asheville.

Ingredients

  • 6 strips thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach, sliced
  • into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 quart ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon honey, or more to taste
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sliced almonds, toasted (optional)

Directions

Step 1

Place the bacon in a cold skillet and bring the heat to medium. Cook the bacon until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the bacon and reserve.

Step 2

Place the spinach and strawberries in an attractive serving bowl.

Step 3

Make the dressing: Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Whisk to mix. Taste, adding more honey or salt or pepper as needed. Just before serving, drizzle the dressing over the salad, tossing gently to mix. Top with the reserved bacon and almonds, if using.

Serves 4 — Recipe courtesy of the Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Garlicky Herbed Chicken

Halving or spatchcocking the chicken enables it to cook faster—a plus on busy weeknights. To spatchcock a bird, place it breast-side down and remove the backbone with kitchen shears or a sharp knife. Flatten with the palm of your hand.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • One 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken, halved or spatchcocked
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces thick-cut bacon, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

Directions

Step 1

Toast the fennel seeds in a dry small skillet over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small plate and let cool. Finely grind in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle.

Step 2

Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle with half of the fennel; season generously with salt and pepper; set aside.

Step 3

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cook the bacon in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a medium bowl. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of bacon fat. Increase the heat to medium-high and carefully place the chicken halves, skin side down, in the skillet, pressing down so skin makes good contact with the surface of the pan. Cook until the skin is golden brown and starting to crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken; transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh registers 165°F, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes.

Step 4

While the chicken rests, add the garlic, parsley, oil, lemon zest, thyme, red pepper flakes, and remaining fennel to the bacon. Mix well; season with salt and pepper. Serve the chicken drizzled with the pan juices and topped with the bacon mixture.

Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, October 2016

Grilled Flank Steak with Salsa Verde

Maintain a cool kitchen by taking the party outside. The key to tender flank steak is to cook it to medium-rare, then slice thinly on a sharp diagonal.

Ingredients

For the salsa verde:

  • 1 1/2 cups packed, roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • 1 to 2 anchovy fillets (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated zest from 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the steak:

  • One 2-pound flank steak Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Step 1

Make the salsa verde: Place the parsley, olive oil, capers, anchovies (if using), vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and lemon zest in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until parsley is well chopped, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as necessary.

Step 2

Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Step 3

In the meantime, set up your grill or grill pan for indirect grilling and heat to medium-high. Generously season the steak on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill the flank steak for about 3 minutes per side, or until done to your liking. Let rest for 2 minutes before carving thinly against the grain on a sharp diagonal. Serve with the salsa verde.

Serves 4 to 6 — Recipe courtesy of the Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club