by Kate Heyhoe
My "O" My!
When it was first introduced, O Olive Oil was the hit of the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. This is a condiment-style olive oil rich in citrus flavors. In Italy, at the end of the harvest season, lemons and oranges are crushed—peels, flesh and all—with the olives. They do this to clean the crusher. But the result is sublime: an assertive olive oil melded to the fresh taste of fruit. Unlike infused olive oils, which can be brassy with a harsh finish, this crushing of the citrus with the olives produces a smooth and harmonious blend that rolls across your tongue in complex stages.
O Olive Oils are made using the same process—right down to the authentic grinding stone operated by Frantoio Restaurant in Mill Valley, CA. The olives themselves are hand-picked California Mission olives, crushed with organic citrus. O Olive Oil is currently available crushed with Meyer Lemons, a lemon-mandarin hybrid, and Oranges. A Blood Orange olive oil has also been released. Look for them at gourmet shops, or order from Katz & Company. An 8.8-ounce bottle, with its handsomely striking design, retails for $21 (in 1998).
What does one do with O Olive Oil? Use it as a seasoning or condiment—heating it is a waste of its deep flavor. It's so intense, just a spoonful of it goes a long way. The company suggests these uses:
The other night I made a simple red leaf lettuce salad using only the Meyer Lemon oil and some salt and pepper—awesome! Some lettuces are so delicate that acids like vinegar and straight lemon juice wilt and overpower them instantly. But this melding was perfect: just the right amount of citrus in the oil to complement the red leaf lettuce, bringing its light and airy taste to the forefront.
In short, O Olive Oil is one of the most exciting new culinary products I've tasted in years. In just seconds, a few drops transform a plain steamed vegetable into an exotic culinary treat—a fast, easy and delicious way to be gourmet.
You can adapt this simple but traditional recipe using O Olive Oil, but because O Olive Oils are so pleasantly assertive, start with 1/2 or 2/3 the amount of oil called for.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the bread in half horizontally. Bake 20 minutes, or until crispy and golden (watch that it does not burn). Cool. Slice the tomatoes in half horizontally. Season with salt. Toss with the basil and olive oil. Distribute the tomatoes and their dressing over of the bread, and serve.
This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page modified January 2007
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