Details of the winners of the 2021 olive oil awards are beginning to trickle in and so I will be reporting on them as they arrive and pairing them with recipes recommended by their producers.
The first of these uses one of the two oils from La Cultivada which have won top awards at the XXVI BIOL 2021 International Organic EVOO contest recently held in Italy. It is La Cultivada Quintaesencia. The other oil is La Cultivada Hojiblanca. These organic oils are produced from olives grown in groves in the Cordoba region of Andalucia.
It is hoped that these oils will be available from Mediterrranean Luxury Foods shortly. For full details see www.medluxfoods.co.uk
Warm salad of quinoa and asparagus
The depth of flavour of this oil, with its wet herbs and tomatoes on the vine, really brings this salad to life. Serve as a lunch dish or for a light supper.
Serves 3 to 4.
- 1 cup organic quinoa (yields 2 to 3 cups cooked quinoa).
- 1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups water
- 2 cloves organic garlic
- 1 bunch organic asparagus spears
- 1 bunch organic lamb’s lettuce
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- La Cultivada Quintaesencia organic extra virgin olive oil
- Optional: finely grated organic lemon zest
Place the quinoa in a fine strainer and rinse thoroughly under running water. Drain. Put the rinsed quinoa into a medium-sized pot with 1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups of water and salt to taste. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover. Simmer for approximately 15 minutes until the quinoa is translucent and the water has been absorbed.
Remove the quinoa from the heat. Take off the lid and place a clean dish towel over the pan. Replace the lid and allow the quinoa to stand undisturbed for a further 10 to 15 minutes. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the asparagus. Eliminate the tough, woody ends and cut off the tips. Finely chop the remainder of the stalks.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of La Cultivada Quintaesencia in a frying pan. Add two unpeeled cloves of garlic and swirl around the pan to scent the oil. Add the chopped stalks and asparagus tips, and sauté until bright green.
Fluff the warm quinoa with a fork, arrange in the center of the plate, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Garnish with the lamb’s lettuce, and pile the sautéed asparagus on top of the quinoa along with the garlic cloves. (If desired, sprinkle over the lemon zest). To finish, drizzle generously with La Cultivada Quintaesencia.
My second offering today is Terra Creta Grand Cru Koroneiki extra virgin olive oil from Crete which has won the top award in the Mario Solinas 2021 Competition, Mild green fruitiness category. This oil has the most amazing green and herbaceous aroma and taste with complex flavour tones and robust bitterness and pepper all of which are extremely well balanced. This is a high polyphenol oil so that it is not only delicious but very healthy too.
I do not yet have distribution details for The Grand Cru oil but will post it as soon as I can. However, Terra Creta extra virgin oils are generally very good and well worth looking out for. They are available from Odysea, Isle of Olives and Amazon among other outlets.
Cretan Whole Baked Fish
This simple but delicious recipe comes from the book “Olive Oil, the secret of good health” by Nicos and Maria Psillakis. It also appears on the Terra Creta recipe website along with other recipes using Terra Creta extra virgin olive oils. https://www.terracreta.gr/recipes.aspx?lang=en&id=151#.YIlt17VKhPY
I must say that I would use more olive oil in this recipe to extend the sauce but you can also drizzle the oil over the cooked fish when it has been portioned and served.
- 1 large whole fish; grouper, red snapper, seabream or mullet
- 3-4 pieces sun dried tomatoes
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 3-4 medium onions, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 4 tbsp Terra Creta extra virgin olive oil
- 100ml white wine
- 4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- Black olives (optional)
- Salt and pepper
Clean the fish, removing the guts and stuff with parsley, bay leaves and sun dried tomatoes. Place in an oiled baking tray.
In a saucepan heat oil and brown onions lightly. Add garlic, tomatoes, wine, rosemary, olives (if using), salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour the sauce over and around the fish and bake in moderate heat for about an hour.