When many of us think of olive oil, the first thing that may come to mind is a generic bulk brand from your local supermarket that you throw in a pan with your morning potatoes. However, not long ago, olive oil was revered as “liquid gold.” Used for both religious and medicinal purposes it was thought to have magical properties. Today, olive oil is finding its way into more than just our cabinets, it’s also found in beauty products from shampoo to massage balms. In addition, we see “varietal” based olive oils (ie. Lucco, Leccino, Coratina, etc), just like we see varietal based wines (ie. Arneis, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo, etc).
These olive oils are distinctly different from those found in the supermarket, in the same way that a boutique wine (like say Palmina) is incomparable to a boxed wine. They are made in the same manner and given the same attention that a winemaker would give to their fruit. They range in flavor from spicy, to grassy, to even floral. They can be mild, like Arbequina, or intense, like Picual. They match a dish in the same way that you’d pair a wine, based on structure and intensity.
At Palmina, we can’t even talk about wine without bringing up recipe ideas and foods to pair with them, and we love finding unique ingredients to share with our guests. This year, we brought in a few new olive oils for you to try at home.
2011 Palmina Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Santa Rita Hills
This blend is comprised of organic Frantoio, Leccino, Pendolino and Maurino varietals that are all grown on small farms here in the Santa Rita Hills. The cool maritime influence that creates the perfect conditions for Burgundian varietals also help to create a bright, aromatic and peppery olive oil. Due to its distinct flavor, this extra virgin olive oil is perfect for dipping, salad dressings and as a finish to a dish. Adding a pinch of salt to the oil also helps to extract more of those subtle flavors.
The following olive oils are all infusions, which we hope to vary seasonally. Although flavored olive oils are not extra virgin by definition, these oils vary distinctly from other flavored oils you might find. These were made with milder olive oils that were then milled with the actual ingredient not just a flavoring (which many flavored oils are). Basil leaves, lemons, chipotle peppers are all that give these olive oils their flavor. These oils can be used to saute veggies, season salad dressings or finish a dish.
Palmina Basil Olive Oil
We LOVE basil, and this is the perfect solution if you can’t find the real thing, or you’re just too tired to chop it and clean a knife. This oil is the ideal pair with your summer tomato garden. The possibilities are endless — drizzle over caprese, roasted oven dried tomatoes, marinara sauce, sauteed fish or chicken — I could go on, but I’m getting hungry.
Palmina Lemon Olive Oil
Think lemon zest. Remember, olive oil has no acidity (if it does, it’s gone rancid), so this is olive oil is a beautiful and vibrant finisher to those summer dishes: grilled fish, panzanella salad, grilled peaches with goat cheese and prosciutto. Just like lemon zest, a touch of this is sure to brighten up any dish.
Palmina Chipotle Olive Oil
We love a little spice, especially with our Botasea, so while this chipotle oil definitely carries a kick, it still behaves well with wine. We recently sent this in our Tavola Wine Club Shipment where we created a spicy chipotle shrimp and squid ink pasta recipe. It must have been good, since the oil sold out quickly thereafter, but we made sure to bring it back. Although the recipe mill has not nearly been exhausted, it’s also delicious with crusty flatbread, or for searing beef.