Holiday Feature


Olive Oil


From Tree to Table
By Peggy Knickerbocker
Photographs by Laurie Smith
Foreword by Maggie Blyth Klein

"Finally! The definitive guide to olive oil—what it is, how to use it, how to cook with it. Written with authority, honesty, and style, and including mouthwatering recipes, this is the book I've been waiting for."
     —Paula Wolfert

Recipes to Sample:

Olive Oil

Olive oil has always played an essential culinary role in the Mediterranean, where olives have been cultivated for thousands of years. Today, this healthful, versatile ingredient is a valued staple throughout the world. In Olive Oil, Peggy Knickerbocker and photographer Laurie Smith trace the birth and voyage of the "oil of the gods." They take us to the rustic orchards of Greece, Spain, Italy, North Africa, and California (a burgeoning olive-growing region in its own right), and introduce us to the fascinating process of harvesting the fruit and extracting the shimmering essence. Then they invite us to taste the exquisite results with a host of flavorful dishes.

Here are inspired recipes from the best of Mediterranean cuisines—everything from starters to sweets, and you can't go wrong with any of them. There is the, ridiculously easy Orecchiete with Cauliflower and Pecorino, and the seasonal sensation of Fettuccine with Asparagus, Fava Beans, and Peas. Linguine with Gorgonzola Sauce is a culinary killer, and spring lamb never tasted better than in Knickerbocker's recipe for Butterflied Leg of Lamb Stuffed with Mint Gremolata. Her fish and poultry dishes are wonderful: a classic Roasted Chicken with Potatoes, Capers, and Endive or a tender Sea Bass in Parchment. Salads and vegetables take on a new life with Knickerbocker's recipes (don't miss the very clever Tattooed Potatoes with Rosemary)—all of them simple yet elegant.

Writing in an energetic and personal style, Knickerbocker says in her introduction, "I want all cooks, after reading this book, to become passionate about olive oil the way I have. I want them to know what to look for in olive oil and then to urge purveyors to be honest and experimental with what they stock. Only then can American food lovers have an increased access to olive oil that one day might reflect its abundance and variety in the Mediterranean." Smith's photographs explode with vibrancy and her settings reflect the origins of these delectable foods that showcase the world's best olive oils, bringing the world of Olive Oil to the reader's doorstep.

About the Author:

Peggy Knickerbocker is a food and travel writer who lives in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in Saveur, Food & Wine, Gourmet, House & Garden, Travel & Leisure, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. Laurie Smith's photographs have appeared in Saveur, Food & Wine, and Fine Cooking, and in two previous books, La Parilla and Bocaditos, both from Chronicle Books. Maggie Blyth Klein is the author of The Feast of the Olive and owner of Oliveto's, a favorite Mediterranean restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Olive Oil:
From Tree to Table
by Peggy Knickerbocker
Photographs by Laurie Smith
October 1997, Chronicle Books
$19.95, 168 pages; color photos

Information provided by the publisher.


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