LA CAPRESE   [Tomato & Mozzarella Salad]

½ pound of large juicy tomatoes, fresh from the garden, cut into ¼” slices  [about 2]

1 large ball of fresh Italian Mozzarella, about 3/8 pound [packed in brine or water—not the firm

rubbery kind], cut into ¼” slices

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

2 to 4 Tablespoons of Counsel Oaks extra virgin olive oil

5 to 6 fresh basil leaves, shredded

Alternate tomato & fresh Mozzarella slices on 2 plates.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle basil shreds over top.  Serve at room temperature, preferably with slices of fresh baguette to mop up the extra oil.

Makes 2 servings

TAPENADE  [Anchovy-Olive Spread]

1 2-ounce can anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained

18 to 36 pitted oil-cured or salted black olives, soaked overnight in olive oil w/ slivers of garlic

[garlic optional]  [Disparity in number depends on size of olives—need about

1½ cups of olives]

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 egg yolk

2/3 cup Counsel Oaks extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon fresh strained lemon juice

2-4 cloves garlic

Cayenne pepper to taste

Place anchovies in small bowl with cold water to cover.  Soak 20 minutes, drain.

Combine anchovies, olives, mustard, and garlic in food processor fitted w/ metal blade.  Process until coarsely chopped; scraping sides of bowl as necessary.

Add egg yolk & blend thoroughly until smooth.  With machine on, add olive oil in a slow, steady stream.  Add lemon juice.  Season to taste w/ cayenne.

Spoon into a 1-cup crock.  Can be refrigerated, covered, up to 3 days.

For service:  Make a blend of Herbed Olive Oil*.  Slice a fresh baguette into slices about ¼ inch thick.  Brush fresh baguette slices with herbed oil & place under broiler until golden brown & toasty.  Place warm slices on tray with Tapenade for guests to serve themselves.

*Herbed Olive Oil

To ¾ cup of Counsel Oaks extra virgin olive oil: Add 1 tablespoon each of any or all of the following fresh herbs, finely chopped:  sweet marjoram, rosemary, thyme, sweet basil, lemon thyme, parsley, oregano**. If fresh herbs are unavailable, dry will work, but use in amounts of approximately 1 teaspoon each & allow mixture to stand longer than recommended for fresh herbs.   Alternatively, you can also make a mixture of fresh and dry herbs to suit your taste.  Let stand for at least 2 hours at room temperature, or place in refrigerator overnight to allow flavors to assimilate.  Just before serving Tapenade, brush herbed oil on bread slices & toast in broiler until golden brown.  If oil is not all used up, can store remainder in refrigerator for 3-4 days.

**  After rinsing fresh herbs, dry thoroughly before chopping.  Do not add to oil until all exterior water has been removed.  If necessary, allow herbs to sit awhile on paper towels to dry further.  Extra surface water may cause fresh herbs to decay in the oil.

MAYONNAISE

1 egg, fresh from the hen

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

½ to 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ cup Counsel Oaks extra virgin olive oil

½ cup salad oil

In food processor, beat egg, lemon juice, salt, dry mustard, & Dijon mustard until frothy and creamy.  Combine oils.  With food processor on, add oil in a slow, steady stream, beating continuously until all oil is used.  Mixture should be stiff.  Store in refrigerator.  Makes about 1½ cups.

NOTE:  This mayonnaise makes a wonderful dip for cold cooked artichokes, & crudités.  If desired, stir in 1 or 2 mashed cloves of garlic after processing, or finely chopped herbs of your choice.  Stir in the garlic and/or herbs by hand, as, if done by the food processor, extra ingredients tend to break the emulsion.

CAESAR SALAD

3 slices from center of sourdough French bread, to be made into croutons

Oil for toasting croutons

2 or more cloves of garlic, pressed

1 teaspoon anchovy paste [1 large squirt]

1 large head romaine lettuce, separated & each leaf washed and dried

3 green onions [scallions], cut into pieces no larger than ¼”, greens included

1 egg, coddled

Juice of 1 medium-large lemon

¼ to 1/3 cup Counsel Oaks extra virgin olive oil, sometimes more

½ to ¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Pepper to taste, freshly ground

Pre-preparation:  Cut the bread slices into ½” cubes.  Sauté in mixture of salad oil & olive oil [use commercial grade oil] for this step] until golden brown and toasty.  Drain on paper towels and set aside.  These can be made ahead & stored in the refrigerator or even frozen.  By the way, this is a great way to use up odd pieces of sourdough French bread—make ahead and freeze for future use whenever croutons are needed.

Day of preparing saladSalad greens:  Wash the romaine lettuce carefully & dry in salad “slinger” or between pieces of paper towel.  Tear into bite-size pieces, approximately 2”.  At this point, you can cover the lettuce with damp paper towels, put in a plastic bag, and refrigerate until needed.

Egg: How to coddle:  In a 1-quart saucepan, fill with water and bring to a boil.  Turn heat off [if electric range], or turn flame low [if gas range].  Gently lower a large egg into the water & hold there for 45-60 seconds.  It is best if the egg is at room temperature, as the shock of placing a refrigerated egg into the hot water will often cause the shell to break.  Remove egg from water and set aside.

Lemon juice:  Squeeze juice from lemon.  I use the pulp, as well.  Set juice/pulp aside until ready for assembly.  A large lemon should produce about 3 Tablespoons of juice.  NOTE:  If you massage the lemon firmly against the countertop before it is cut for squeezing, it will produce more juice.

Garlic and anchovy paste:  With a rubber spatula, spread the pressed garlic and the anchovy paste around the inside of a large wooden salad bowl, starting from the bottom & working toward the top.  Add the lettuce and the cut green onions to the salad bowl.  This can be covered with foil and a damp paper towel and put into the refrigerator until needed.

Putting it all together:  In a separate small bowl, break the egg & whip with a fork.  Add the olive oil in a stream and continue whipping with the fork until thoroughly amalgamated.  The mixture should look like a fluffy soft mayonnaise.  Pour over the lettuce.  Add the lemon juice to the “egg/oil” bowl, using it to clean out the mixture that is clinging to the sides of the bowl.  Pour this over the greens, as well.  Gently toss the greens with the egg/oil and lemon juice, until all lettuce leaves are evenly coated.  The garlic & anchovy paste will become incorporated into the dressing as you toss.  Add croutons, grated cheese, and freshly ground pepper & toss.  Serve immediately.

Serves 6.

PESTO

In the food processor, blend together until smooth:

¾ cup fresh basil [packed firmly]

1 or 2 cloves of garlic

2 Tablespoons of Counsel Oaks extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

If too thick, thin with small amount of dry white wine or additional olive oil. Toss with cooked pasta or vegetables, such as sauté green beans.

HUMMUS

1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans

2 Tablespoons Counsel Oaks extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup toasted sesame seeds

3 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 large clove garlic

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Fresh chopped parsley

Drain and save liquid from can of garbanzo beans.  Put beans into food processor.  Add olive oil, sesame seeds, lemon juice, garlic clove, and cumin.  Blend, adding some of the juice from the garbanzo beans, as needed, to create a heavy batter/paste.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Spread on a plate or shallow dish.  Smooth the top & use a small rubber spatula to make a “swirl” design.  Drizzle with more Counsel Oaks extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with chopped parsley as a garnish.

Serve at room temperature with wedges of fresh warmed pita bread.

Makes about 1½ cups.

MUFFULETTA SREAD

1 cup pitted Spanish olives

1 cup pitted Kalamata [or black] olives

¼ cup chopped onion

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 Tablespoon freshly grated horseradish

1 Tablespoon chopped garlic

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

Dash hot sauce [Tabasco]

Dash Worchestershire Sauce

½ cup Counsel Oaks extra virgin oil

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in food processor and chop coarsely.  With processor running, gradually add olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Cover & refrigerate an hour before serving.  Serve with wedges of pita bread or slices of fresh baguette.

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