Two of my favourite Spanish olive oil producers have made a killing at the 2022 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition. Both based in Andalucia, they are Oro Bailen in Jaen with four Gold Medals and Finca La Torre in Malaga with three. Both producers caught my attention some years ago and they have both gone from strength to strength.
Oro Bailen succeeded this year with their Picual, Frantoio and Arbequina varieties as well as winning another Gold Award for their Bio oil. All three varietals are stocked by the Artisan Olive Oil company https://www.artisanoliveoilcompany.co.uk/collections/premium-olive-oils. Some are also available from Ocado and Amazon.
I have put together some easy summer recipes which I think showcase these oils very well.
Prawn Salad with Hot Sesame Dressing
I have chosen Oro Bailen Picual for this Australian inspired recipe because Picual was the varietal used in the original version and the full flavour of the Oro Bailen oil stands up really well to the soy sauce and lemon juice in the dressing. If papaya is difficult to source, you could use mangoes or yellow cling peaches instead. Serve as part of a summer garden buffet or on its own as an excellent lunch dish.
- mixed salad leaves (green frilly lettuce, roquette and radicchio etc)
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into small thin sticks
- 1 papaya, peeled, seeded and cut into diamond shapes
- 225g large peeled prawns
- 4 spring onions, chopped
- slices of lemon zest cut into thin strips
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- sprigs of chervil, parsley or other fresh herbs
- 6 tablespoons Oro Bailen Picual extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- a few drops oriental sesame seed oil
Optional garnish :
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 15g rice noodles
Tear the salad leaves into small pieces and mix the rest of the salad ingredients.
Next mix all the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad. Toss well and serve at once in a large bowl.
If you decide to make the optional garnish, do this first.
Heat the cooking oil in a pan until hot. Test if the oil is ready by adding a couple of noodles to the oil. They should frizzle up at once. Cook the remaining noodles, taking care not to add too many at once or they may come over the top of the pan. Remove as soon as they have crisped up. Keep on one side until required to garnish the salad.
Spanish Scrambled eggs with baby broad beans
This is scrambled eggs with a difference. Known simply as Revuelta in Andalucia, the eggs are scrambled with a mixture of vegetables. It’s a great way to use up small quantities of left over vegetables. Serve it for breakfast as they do in Spain or use as a simple lunch dish or evening snack. It is particularly good made with baby broad beans that have been skinned. If you cannot be bothered to skin your own cooked beans you can buy them in cans or jars in shops which specialise in Spanish food. Other ideas include finely chopped red peppers, small broccoli florets or sweetcorn kernels. Cook these with the onions and garlic before adding the eggs.
- 4 tablespoons Oro Bailen Arbequina extra virgin olive oil
- I onion, peeled and very finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
- 4 tablespoons canned baby broad beans or cooked green beans, skinned
- 2 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoon water
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and add the onions and garlic. Sauté gently for 2-3 minutes. Do not allow to brown. Add the tomatoes vegetables and continue cooking and stirring for another 3-4 minutes.
Lightly scramble the eggs with the remaining olive oil, water and seasoning. Just before serving stir in the cooked vegetable mixture and parsley. Serve at once with crusty wholemeal or farmhouse bread.
Finca La Torre
This olive oil company picked up two Gold Awards in 2022. One for its Cornicabra varietal and one for its Hojiblanca. Their oils are stocked by Mar de Olivos among other importers or buy direct from the finca.
This is a another salad which really heralds the summer season. I have chosen the Hojiblanca oil for is wonderfully fragrant aroma and individual taste.
- 2 oranges, peeled and cut into segments
- 40 g fennel, cut into julienne strips
- 30 g red onion, cut into julienne strips
- 20 g cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- Crushed garlic
- 20 g anchovies in oil
- 75ml Finca Torre Hojiblanca extra virgin olive oil
- mint leaves to taste
- oregano to taste
- salt pepper to taste
In a large bowl stir in the peeled orange, julienne of fennel and onions, cherry tomatoes, and crushd garlic.
Mix the chopped anchovies with the olive oil and pour over the salad. Add herbs to taste and toss well together.
Fideo with Courgettes and Almonds
Pasta does not immediately spring to mind when talking about Spanish food but in fact “fideo” or noodles do crop up quite often. Here I am using very fine noodles in a really fresh tasting dish with almonds and herbs. If you cannot find fresh almonds in the UK the recipe is great with the fresh cobnuts which will shortly come the UK market. You can also use macademia nuts.
- 500g small to medium sized courgettes, trimmed and sliced
- 5 tbs Finca la Torre Cornicabra extra virgin olive oil
- 100g fresh almonds with the shells and skins removed
- 6 sprigs fresh mint (about 30 leaves)
- 8 sprigs fresh basil (about 40 leaves)
- Fideo or very fine noodles
- 100g hard Manchego cheese, grated
Fry the courgettes in 4 tablespoons of the live oil to soften and brown a little. Add the almonds abut halfway through. Take care not to overcook the courgettes or they will go too soft.
Remove the leaves from the sprigs of herbs and add to the courgette mixture with the rest of the oil.
Meanwhile cook the noodles until al dente. Drain and toss with the courgette mixture.
Serve at once sprinkled with the cheese.
The aroma of sardines cooking on skewers over a fire on the beach is one of my over-riding memories of Malaga in summer but these lovely flavoursome fish are also very good stuffed and baked. This dish makes an excellent first course when you are entertaining and a good lunch too. Ask your fishmonger to split the fish and remove the heads and backbones. For smaller quantities fry the stuffed fish in olive oil in a large frying pan.
Ingredients for 6-8 people:
- 1kg sardines
- 120 breadcrumbs
- Finca la Torre Cornecabra olive oil
- 100g aged Manchego cheese, grated
- 5 anchovies, finely chopped
- 1 lemon
- 1 bunch parsley
- 10 capers
- Salt and pepper
If necessary, cleanthe sardines, remove the headand bones. Then wash themand place open side down to dry on absorbent paper.
Toast the breadcrumbs with a little oil in a frying pan. Just as the breadcrumbs begin to turn golden, remove from heat. Place in a mixing bowl with the anchovies, Manchego cheese, the grated rind of half a lemon, parsley, chopped capers and nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix the stuffing together.
Place a cleaned sardine on a board and spread some of the stuffing mixture over the top. Take another sardine and place on top like a sandwich. Secure with a cocktail stick.
Arrange the sardines upright in a baking dish greased with oil and separating them with the bay leaves. Bake for 20 minutes at 180°C and serve hot.