Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘olive oil’

Buma shimeji
No, that’s not a random collection of vowels and consonants: while meandering along the vegetable aisle in Waitrose I spied these exotic Buna shimeji, also known as Brown Beech mushrooms, at a delightfully exotic discount. Nothing boosts my culinary confidence like finding a food bargain, and with the summery weather in mind I fancied trying them as an antipasto: turns out it’s the easiest thing in the world and to have such a luxurious treat on hand makes me want to dance a little jig.

Mushroom antipasto, or funghi sott’olio*

    Buna shimeji

  • 2 packs Buna Shimeji mushrooms
  • 100 ml white wine vinegar plus 200 ml water
  • tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced fine
  • 1 chilli (fresh or dried – whatever you have to hand)
  • 2 bay leaves, a sprig of thyme
  • olive oil to cover

First cut away the solid base holding them together, then break off the individual mushrooms with your fingers; rinse and drain.  Bring the vinegar and water to boil in a non-reactive pan, add the salt, garlic, chilli (crumbled or sliced or not – depending on your tastebuds and your chilli!), bay leaves and thyme, then tip in the mushrooms.  Simmer gently for about 5 minutes.  Test one for texture after just a couple of minutes as they shouldn’t overcook; al dente, per favore.

Drain and spread them out to dry on a clean tea towel, giving it a little shake every now and then to coax things along, but don’t squeeze or press.  Tip them with the flavourings into a sterilised jar which they just about fill and cover with a little olive oil (*sott’olio is Italian for “under oil”).  Keep in the fridge and serve at room temperature with a scattering of parsley – if you have it – and good crusty bread: I wouldn’t expect these to keep more than a week, but they’ll be finished long before that, no doubt.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Do you ever buy delicious edibles in jars or tubs?  If so, you’ve no doubt acquired more than a few items preserved in olive oil.  Now this idea is so obvious perhaps I’m just a slow learner, but until recently, once the olives, or sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes or anchovies were gone I used to throw away the oil left behind.

And then it dawned on me: that way flies food waste and for a frugal hedonist that way lies madness too.

Food manufacturers go to some lengths to keep us buying the fancy “deli” stuff aimed at our sophisticated palates.  This usually means adding herbs and/or garlic to enhance the flavour of the main attraction, so while blithely using the contents of the jar, might it not be a really good idea to also make use of the olive oil it’s been swimming in to augment and deepen the flavours of your dish – or even the whole meal?
sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil

So if you’re cooking up beef daube with olives, brown the beef in oil from the olive jar (try anchovy for an authentic southern Rhône flavour) – or start your sofrito sizzling with sun-dried tomato oil for an Italian ragù.  Try frying the aubergines in artichoke oil next time you make caponata.  Kick off a pilaf with the same; add a few drops to plain couscous, a tablespoon or two to pizza dough…

rosemary branch in olive oilI have even been known to strain the oil into a decanter and poke in a couple of rosemary sprigs – hey presto, rosemary oil for focaccia!

Use in almost any recipe instead of your usual olive oil.  If you devote half a shelf in the fridge door to these almost empty jars and use them up quickly, not only is the extra depth of flavour well worth it, you’ll be able to save up your pennies for some really special olive oil.

Read Full Post »

Mr T reminded me that it’s all very well going on about my fabulous dough discovery but there’s not much point unless I eventually share the secret, so – in good time for summer – here’s a wonderful recipe for:

Olive Oil Dough

(my respectful adaptation of a recipe in
 Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François)
 

  • 650 ml lukewarm water
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons dried yeast (or 50g fresh – I buy mine from Carrefour in France, then freeze)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sel gris de Guérande (my favourite, but any coarse salt will do)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1600 ml unbleached all-purpose flour (I don’t know how much this weighs – will get back to you!)
    1. Pour the water into a lidded (not airtight) food container and sprinkle on the yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil.  Give it a swirl to mix.
    2. Add the flour, stir it in with a wooden spoon until it becomes a fairly homogenous mass with no dry bits.
    3. Cover (but do not seal) with the lid and leave it at room temperature approximately 2 hours (until the dough has risen and collapsed).
    4. Either: use immediately, or
    5. refrigerate in its container, leaving the lid slightly ajar to allow air circulation, and use over the next 12 days.

    When you wish to bake your bread (this dough is designed for flatbreads [eg focaccia, fougasse, pizza etc.] so don’t expect a high-rise sandwich loaf):

    • oil a medium-sized baking tray or swiss roll tin with olive oil (don’t waste pricey extra virgin here!)
    • with wet or olive-oily hands to stop the dough from sticking, scoop out a handful weighing approximately 500g (but don’t get out your scales unless you enjoy making a mess)
    • form into a ball and then, as the pizza guys do, use its own weight to gently stretch without tearing: when it is too thin to take the strain without holing place it in the centre of your oiled tray and gently ease it towards the sides and corners.  It will relax and expand over the next little while.
    • start heating oven to 200C (or as high as it will go if making pizza)

    Then what you do with it really depends on what you’re after – dimple with your fingers, strew with chopped rosemary and salt then “drizzle” (yikes – did I really say that?) with a couple of teaspoons of olive oil for classic focaccia; make it into a circle and apply pizza toppings, or for something really exciting, check out the method for a Spanish flavoured fougasse in my chorizo & olive bread post.

    Finally, bake your bread for about 20 minutes; because of the oil content you will get a crispy rather than crusty-crunchy crust, and light golden browning.  If you wait until it resembles a loaf it will be overdone, and for pizza keep the dough thin; it will need 10-15 minutes or less cooking time.  Serve warm or cool; today or tomorrow if it lasts that long.

    I was so impressed with this American pair’s basic recipe for artisan bread featured in The Mercury News that I ordered their book via Amazon.co.uk and I’m so glad I did – it’s packed with extra information and lots of recipes for a number of different doughs and their permutations.  In the short time since I acquired it I have been inspired repeatedly – this book is a keeper.

    Read Full Post »


    So with the hot weather holding, the olive oil dough persisting and some slightly sinewy chorizo from Lidl haunting the ‘fridge, what better to make than chorizo and olive bread for a tasty lunch?

    Just grab a handful of dough from the big batch container (first having floured one’s hands), tidy it by folding under into a ball, press onto an oiled tin and gently stretch to flatten.  Take your slices of chorizo (wide and thin, not the chunky cooking sort) and overlap them in a line down the centre of your dough rectangle.  Sprinkle a few stoned olives down each side and then bring up the sides of dough to meet across and form a swaddling blanket for the filling.

    Not very pretty, is it? If your dough is as floppy as mine it will stretch and thin to reveal the odd olive but no matter.  The idea is a riff on the Provençal fougasse – the variations are limitless once you take that on board – so instead of herbes de Provence, strew the top with a little orange zest, crumbled chilli and roughly crushed fennel seed to go with the Spanish flavours of the chorizo (this delicious trio also aid digestibility as it’s a fairly oily affair).  Bake in a hot oven for 20-30 minutes, cool slightly and serve in slices with a sharp salad if you have one (last night’s chicory in orange juice in this case!) or wrap and take to work or a picnic.

     Oh dear, it’s all gone now.  We liked it so much I made another but that’s gone too.  Watch this space for the next batch of olive oil dough!

    Read Full Post »