Archive for extra virgin olive oil

Grilled tuna with roast tomatoes

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Half Hour Meals

16 cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 oregano or marjoram sprigs, leaves stripped
1 tablespoon capers
26 Spanish black olives, pitted
4 tuna steaks

Preheat the oven to 150°C.

Mix the cherry tomatoes, garlic, 5 tablespoons of the oil and oregano (or marjoram) in a bowl before pouring everything onto a baking tray. Roast for around 15 to 20 minutes, until the tomatoes look as though they are about to collapse and their skins are crinkled. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Once they’ve cooled, add the tomatoes to a salad bowl, scraping in the delicious juices from the baking tray, then stir through the capers and olives.

Ideally, for the next stage you should use a ridged griddle pan. If you don’t have one of these, use a heavy-duty cast-iron frying pan instead. Heat the griddle pan until it’s very hot before adding the remaining oil. Season the tuna steaks and add them to the pan – don’t overcrowd the pan – if you’ve got a large grill or barbecue, then of course they can be cooked all at the same time. I love rare tuna, which means that the steaks need only a minute or so on each side, but grill the tuna according to how well cooked you like them.

Place the tuna steaks on plates and put the tomatoes on top and around the sides of the steaks. Eat immediately.

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Orange and onion salad

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Half Hour Meals

This recipe is from Simon Hopkinson’s book The Vegetarian Option (Quadrille, £20). The choice of onions here is crucial; use the freshest possible sweet white onions. You could also use blood oranges.

4 oranges (or blood oranges)
1 or 2 small sweet white onions, peeled
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Cut the tops and bottoms off the oranges and, using a small, very sharp knife, further slice off the skins of the oranges, cutting close to the flesh and removing all traces of pith. Slice thinly, removing any pips, and arrange neatly, slightly overlapping, on a big white plate (any food looks good on a big white plate).

Thinly slice the onions and lay them on top of the oranges – with a sprinkling of salad garnish if you like. Spoon enough olive oil on to the assembly to suit you, and grind over some pepper.

Pizzette with roasted tomatoes, Jerusalem artichoke and chard

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

If you prefer you can substitute the Jerusalem artichokes with the finest possible sliced potatoes (they need not be cooked before they go in the oven). One or two very good-quality anchovies would also be good.

four pizzette discs
500g artichokes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
20 small ripe tomatoes
600g chard
100ml robust extra virgin olive oil
100g Gorgonzola dolce

Preheat the oven to 230°C.

Now wash the artichokes well under cold running water and slice into quarters. Toss with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray on the middle shelf of the oven. Roast until golden-brown and tender – this will take about 35 minutes. Fifteen minutes before the end of cooking, add the tomatoes.

While the artichokes are cooking, prepare the chard. Rinse well and tear the leaves from the stalks. Boil a pan of well-salted water, plunge in the chard and cook for three minutes. Drain in a colander and put in a bowl.

Pour over half the olive oil and toss together lightly using your fingers. Add the cooked vegetables from the oven and toss once more.

Once the pizzette are ready to go into the oven, slice the cheese finely and lay on the base, dividing evenly between all four.

Spoon over the warm vegetables and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Cook until the cheese is oozing and melted. This should take about 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven, place on warm plates and serve immediately.

Meatballs with yellow polenta

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

1kg minced pork
1kg minced veal
75g soft white breadcrumbs
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
small bunch of thyme, leaves only
75g freshly grated Parmesan
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 fresh bay leaves
1 bunch of sage
200ml full-bodied red wine
2 jars of good quality Italian tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl and mix very well. The easiest and most thorough way of doing this is with your hands. Once the mixture is well combined, roll into 18 generous-sized balls and set aside while you make the sauce.

Place a large, heavy-based pan on top of the stove, turn the heat to medium and add the olive oil. Once the oil is warm, add the onion, chilli and garlic, turn the heat down slightly and cook for 10 minutes; the onion should be soft and translucent.

Add the bay leaves, sage and a good pinch of salt and cook for a further five minutes, then add the wine and return the heat to medium.

Allow the wine to bubble for a minute, then add the tomatoes, place a lid on the pan and cook for half an hour, by which time the sauce should have reduced a little to be rich and dark.

Season with a good pinch of salt and a little black pepper and add the meatballs. Return the lid and cook for 20 minutes, then serve.

Autumn squash soup with walnut pesto

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

There is an abundance of squashes and pumpkins on the market at the moment; the deep orange-fleshed varieties offer the best flavour and colour.

a good knob of butter
1 small leek, roughly chopped and washed
1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1kg ripe, orange-fleshed squash or pumpkin, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1.5 litres vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pesto:

40g good-quality walnuts, lightly toasted
50g fresh basil leaves and any soft stalks
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
a good pinch of sea salt
4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
2 tbsp freshly grated mature Pecorino (or use 6 tbsp Parmesan)
100-120ml extra virgin olive oil (preferably a sweeter variety)

To make the the pesto, put the walnuts, basil, garlic and salt in a liquidiser and coarsely blend. Add the cheese and blend again briefly, then transfer to a bowl.

Gently cook the leek and onion in the butter in a thick-bottomed saucepan until soft. Add the squash and vegetable stock, bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper then simmer for 20 minutes.

Blend in a liquidiser until smooth, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Re-heat the soup and adjust the consistency with a little vegetable stock or water if necessary and re-season with salt and pepper. Serve with a spoonful of the pesto on top.

Nigella Lawson’s pasta alla genovese with potatoes, green beans and pesto

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

This excellent recipe comes from Nigella Lawson’s new book Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home.

Of course her finger-licking fridge-raiding foxy flirt TV persona is a wicked self-parody more outrageous than anything an impressionist could achieve, although Ronni Ancona comes close. I would be a liar if I said I didn’t find her extremely attractive, and the same could be said for many bloggers (male and female) I have contacted.

But look beyond that and what you have is a very fine food writer. Her books are well worth reading. So here she is with one of my old favourites, pasta and pesto:

Children – who are perhaps more honest about their tastes than the rest of us – seem to have an overweening preference for carbohydrates, and I am more than happy to exploit this. If I’ve been working late, am feeling lazy, have forgotten to go shopping or suddenly find out that their friends are staying over and I don’t know what they will or won’t eat, I reach gratefully for a packet of pasta.

I can honestly say I don’t know how parents managed to feed their children in the days before pasta became universal culinary currency. Oh, yes I do, actually: they didn’t care whether we liked what they cooked or not; we just ate what we were given.

My children wouldn’t care if all I ever gave them was pasta with some bottled sauce poured over, and I don’t deny that’s sometimes indeed what they are given; but to please myself, and them, this is what I make when I get it together a little. Making this is hardly effortful; the potatoes cook in the pasta water – requiring a little extra time, nothing more – and the pinenutless pesto is whizzed up easily by the processor.

And if you’re going to do this recipe, then do make the pesto yourself. Using pesto out of a jar is nothing I’d ever apologise for, but this is a dish in itself and needs to be kept distinct. For those who feel cooking potatoes with pasta is playing too much into the hands of kiddie carbomania, know that this is a Ligurian tradition. And it really works: the potatoes thicken into a sweet sludge to which the pesto adheres, to make a fantastically, elegantly comforting and fragrant strand-coating sauce. The green beans add to the verdigloriousness of the whole, making you feel good that you are getting the children to eat vegetables. That said, I remain quite adamant that there is no such thing as ‘children’s food’, that food is food and that’s that; this makes a perfect supper for grown-up company, too, and certainly earns a place in my Last Meal menu.

500g large floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 1.5cm slices, each slice quartered into chunks
500g linguine pasta
200g fine green beans, trimmed and cut in half

For the pesto:
100g basil leaves (2 fat bunches from the greengrocer, or 4 supermarket packets)
100g grated parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, peeled
100ml regular olive oil
100ml extra virgin olive oil

Put the prepared potato chunks into a large saucepan with enough salted water to take the pasta later, and bring to the boil.

Cook the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes, then add the pasta. Check the packet cooking instructions, and at about 4 minutes before the end of the specified cooking time, add the green beans. If you are using artisanal egg linguine, which takes less time, you will need to alter your strategy.

While this is bubbling away, whiz the ingredients for the pesto in a food processor.
Before you drain the saucepan, remove and reserve about ½ cupful of the cooking liquid.

Tip the drained potatoes, beans and pasta back into the dry pan.

Add the pesto from the processor and enough cooking water to give a runny sauce that coats the strands of pasta as you work it through with a fork or pasta claw. Serve immediately.

How to make perfect pesto

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

Do you have a passion for pesto? What’s your favourite pesto recipe, and is there any better way to eat it than with linguine and green beans?

(Source: Guardian)

Energetic Italian grannies make their pesto by hand in a marble mortar, adding the basil leaves one by one. The result is the silkiest, smoothest pesto imaginable. Modern granddaughters are more likely to reach for the food processor, and the result is almost as good.

4 packs basil, or 1 large basil plant, leaves only
25g pine kernels
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp granular sea salt
50g freshly grated Parmesan
100-200ml extra virgin olive oil

Wash and dry the basil leaves. Heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat and toast the pine kernels lightly for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

If you’re using a mortar, pound the garlic with the salt to make a soft mush. Pound in the pine nuts, then work in the basil leaves, 2-3 at a time, with a circular movement of the pestle, until all is reduced to a silky paste. (The mixture can be frozen at this point). Work in the cheese, then beat in the olive oil with a wooden spoon until you have a thick, dense sauce. Add more or less oil depending on the texture you like.

If you’re using a processor, drop all the ingredients in and blitz to a luscious green sauce.

To serve, cook the pasta of your choice according to packet instructions. Ligurian cooks put a few small cubes of potato to cook with the pasta because the starch improves the sticking power of the pesto. Before dressing the pasta, dilute the pesto with a tablespoonful of pasta cooking water.

To store the pesto, pour into a jar, float a layer of olive oil on top, cover and refrigerate for up to a week.

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