- INGREDIENTS For the Monkfish 1 cup walnuts 1 pound monk fish fillets salt and pepper ½ cup butter For the puree 1 can Great Northern Beans, drained Zest of 1½ lemons Juice of one lemon 2 teaspoons salt 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil ¼ cup heavy cream ½ cup chicken stock For...
For the Monkfish
1 cup walnuts
1 pound monk fish fillets
salt and pepper
½ cup butter
For the puree
1 can Great Northern Beans, drained
Zest of 1½ lemons
Juice of one lemon
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup chicken stock
For the fettuccine
3⅓ cups all-purpose flour
4 whole eggs, 1 yolk
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water
For the Italian Sausage and Bell Pepper Skhug Sauce
4 slices prosciutto
3 tablespoons olive oil
¾ pound loose Italian sausage
2 red bell peppers, cut into ½-inch strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into ½-inch strips
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons fresh basil, slice into thin strips, chiffonade, separated
6 tablespoons skhug
Zest of 1 lemon
⅔ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese
For the walnuts: Place 1 cup walnut pieces in dry skillet over medium heat. Cook until toasted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool. Chop until fine; set aside.
For the fish: Trim fish and cut into portions. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Place fish pieces into pan and sauté, turning half way during cooking process, and basting with butter in pan approximately 10 minutes, or until fish is no longer opaque and cooked through.
Remove from pan and drain on plate. Brush fish fillets generously with bean puree and top with toasted walnuts.
For the Great Northern Bean Puree: Combine beans, lemon zest and juice, salt, olive oil and cream in blender and puree until smooth. With motor running, gradually add chicken stock. Adjust seasoning to taste.
For the pasta: Mound the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour, add eggs and egg yolk. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. As you incorporate the eggs, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape. The dough will come together in loose mass when about half of the flour is incorporated. Start kneading the dough with both hands, primarily using the palms of your hands, and incorporate remaining flour. Form dough into a ball adding a little water as necessary; dough should be elastic and a little sticky.
Pour olive oil in a medium size bowl and coat sides. Place dough in bowl, cover with a dish towel, and set aside for 20 minutes to rest at room temperature.
Section the dough into approximately 8 pieces and roll each section with rolling pin to approximately ¼-inch thickness. Using a pasta roller (in my case a KitchenAid mixer pasta roller) begin feeding dough through machine, adjusting thickness as appropriate. The final feed should be at the number 3 setting.
Dust flattened sheets with a little flour and carefully roll by hand into a log form. Using a sharp knife, cut roll into fettuccine sized width. Unroll and separate individual noodles.
Add uncooked noodles to rapidly boiling salted water and cook 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the size of your pasta.
For the sauce: Slice prosciutto into slices and fry in small skillet until crispy. Set aside for garnish.
In large skillet, heat olive oil. Add peppers, onions, salt and pepper; sauté 5 minutes. Add sausage to pepper mixture, stirring frequently in order to break sausage into small pieces, until browned approximately 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons fresh basil, skhug, and stir to combine and simmer 10 minutes. Add heavy cream and mascarpone, stirring to thoroughly incorporate. Add cooked pasta, stirring to coat pasta with sauce.
To plate: Place a generous portion of pasta and sauce in center of plate, swirling pasta. Top with monkfish fillet that has been brushed with bean puree and topped with toasted walnuts. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with crunchy prosciutto and basil chiffonade.
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- California olive oil producers are hard at work these days, with the olive harvest season currently under way. An unprecedented production of 4 million gallons of extra virgin olive oil is estimated for this year’s harvest, almost double what was produced last year. A sign...
California olive oil producers are hard at work these days, with the olive harvest season currently under way. An unprecedented production of 4 million gallons of extra virgin olive oil is estimated for this year’s harvest, almost double what was produced last year.
A sign that the California olive oil industry is here to stay – and grow. More than 75 olive varieties are grown in California over 35,000 acres, with an estimated 3,500 new acres to be planted each year through 2020, according to the California Olive Oil Council (COOC), the non-profit organization representing most of the roughly 400 olive oil producers in California. “California produces some of the best olive oil in the world,” said Patricia Darragh, the executive director of the COOC, whose mission is to promote the consumption of certified California extra virgin olive oil through consumer education. “With a perfect climate and modern technology, along with creativity and innovation, California olive oil can match or exceed the best.”
Olive oil has been produced for millennia – not just as food, but also as medicine and beauty aid. Its health benefits are recognized worldwide. The olive tree is native to the Mediterranean basin; it was brought to California in the late 18th century, when Spanish missionaries planted olive trees at the missions they established between San Diego and Sonoma. By the mid-19th century, the California olive oil industry was thriving; however, it was dormant throughout much of the 20th century. In the last 15 years, the growing demand of Americans for quality extra virgin olive oil has boosted the industry, which can now position itself alongside the world’s leading producers of extra virgin olive oil in terms of quality.
Vincent Ricchiuti, owner of Enzo Olive Oil Company. Photo credit: James Collier.
“We’re entering the same competitions that Italian producers are entering – and we’re winning,” said Vincent Ricchiuti, the owner of Enzo Olive Oil Company, which, in just four years, has collected 67 awards for the quality of its extra virgin olive oil. Based in Madera, in the heart of California’s central San Joaquin Valley, the company, founded by Ricchiuti’s Italian grandfather in the early 20th century, planted its first olive trees in 2008 and collected its first harvest in 2011. All the equipment comes from an Italian company in Bari. “Approximately 98% of olive oil consumed in the U.S. is imported,” Ricchiuti said. “But not all the good olive oils from Italy make it to the U.S. We thought that if we could make a high-quality product, we could tap into the domestic market. Plus, we’re Italians, we have family and friends who make olive oil in Puglia, and love to have this connection to our roots.”
Despite the recent accolades received by California extra virgin olive oil, many consumers appear reluctant to give it credit as they still associate authentic olive oil with the Mediterranean area, and especially Italy, known for producing some of the best extra virgin in the world. “I think we should be more inclusive,” said Rome-born Orietta Gianjorio, a member of the California Olive Oil Council Taste Panel, whose job is to make sure that the olive oils submitted to the COOC every year within a few months of harvest are free of defects in order to qualify as extra-virgin. “It is not a matter of California vs Italy; it is a matter of high quality vs low quality. California has been producing fantastic olive oils for years and it deserves respect by the international olive oil community. I think we (Italians) should give credit where credit is due. Italy has produced high-quality olive oils for centuries. In the last few decades, California has invested energy and has acquired state-of-the-art equipment to produce high quality olive oils. One thing does not exclude the other. To me, this is actually exciting! Inclusive and diverse, this is how the market should be.”
Having options is especially important when you consider that extra virgin olive oil is one of the most widely counterfeited products, meaning it is often mixed with colorants and other less expensive oils – but the label does not tell you that. A widely cited 2010 report by the University of California at Davis (Olive Center) has found that 69% of imported “extra virgin olive oil” is not extra virgin at all, while only 10% of California is not. “When looking for a high quality olive oil, a bottle with the COOC seal is a guarantee of quality,” Darragh said.
Here is where educating consumers and educating oneself can make a difference. “Consumers only have to put a little effort into reaching out to us and getting educated about what they feed to their family,” said Gianjorio. “This is not the time in history when one can buy food without researching. And, as the world of olive oil grows, I have one more tip for consumers: make sure you get educated, but also research the source of your information.”
This year’s crop at Enzo Olive Oil is going to be the biggest, confirming predictions for a record production year. “If you take very good care of the tree, of the mill, of the harvest process, you’re going to make great olive oil,” Ricchiuti told me before getting back to its harvest. “The more we study and practice, the better we can be. This is just the beginning.”
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- Turkey’s olive oil exports have declined by 33 percent because of higher prices compared to European market prices, figures by Aegean Exporters’ Associations revealed, as reported by Anadolu Agency. While big olive oil producers had their worst year in more than a decade,...
Turkey’s olive oil exports have declined by 33 percent because of higher prices compared to European market prices, figures by Aegean Exporters’ Associations revealed, as reported by Anadolu Agency.
While big olive oil producers had their worst year in more than a decade, Turkey was unable to turn this situation to its advantage despite increasing production, as some merchants stockpiled their oil, causing prices to rise dramatically, a sector representative said to daily Hüriyet.
According to figures, the country only earned $66 million from olive oil exports between Nov. 1, 2014 and Oct. 31, 2015, compared to $100 million earned in the 2013-14 crop year.
Figures also showed that the country exported 14,856 tons of olive oil from Nov. 2014 to Oct. 2015, nearly half of what it exported last year during the same period (26,343 tons).
The deputy head of the Union of Aegean Olive and Olive Oil Exporters, Emre Uygun, told Anadolu Agency that the 2014-15 crop year was not good for Turkish olive oil exporters.
“Olive oil prices in Turkey are higher than in Europe. That’s why our exports have declined,” Uygun said, as quoted by Anadolu Agency.
The association said in January that Turkish olive oil prices (3.62 euros) are a euro higher than those in other European markets.
“The new crop year which started in Nov. 1 will produce enough oil for domestic consumption. This shows that exports will decline further in coming months,” Uydun added.
Spain, which accounted for half the world’s production of all grades of olive oil last year, had a mediocre year due to a toxic cocktail of scorching temperatures, drought and bacteria. The same reasons hampered France and Italy’s productions, whereas Turkey, a leading producer, increased its production by 12 percent compared to last year. Meanwhile, the total world production of olive oil decreased by one-third.
In spite of all the obstacles, France, Italy and Spain increased their prices only by 25 percent, while Turkey, despite the escalation in production, raised its prices by 60 percent, making the oil in Turkey the most expensive in the world.
The main reason prices rose so dramatically is because producers arrested their supplies while companies buying the products stockpiled them, both sides expecting the prices to further increase, according to sector representatives.
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