Americans, food and olive oil

American culture pays increasing attention to food quality and a more healthy diet. In some States – such as California – the interest to high quality products and the habit of healthy behaviors are already widespread, but the trend is spreading in all the States. This approach involves extra virgin olive oil, increasingly used not only as a condiment for salads, vegetables and bruschetta but also as a viable alternative to cook in a healthy way.

Chefs and restaurants offer more and more frequently dishes prepared with extra virgin olive oil, while importers and food distributors are increasing their abilities to taste and select extra virgin oils. These behaviours are fundamental to reinforce extra virgin olive oil culture and to affirm extra virgin olive oil as a good, healthy and essential product in our everyday diet.

The links between Italy and the US have always been very strong, expecially those related to Italian cuisine and tradition. USA are the first country in the world for the importation of olive oil and in their restaurants is quite common – much more than here – the habit to serve few slices of bread accompanied by a cup of extra virgin olive oil. So – waiting for their dishes – customers can enjoy “pane e olio”!

High quality from the first pressing

With the start of the new olive oil harvest, Santagata has intensified its activity. As part of our activity consists in tasting and selecting olive oils, at this time of the year daily tasting sessions become central. In Italy, the olive season begins in October with the harvest in Sicily, followed by Puglia in November and then all the other regions.

Olio extravergine di oliva nuova spremitura. Santagata 1907We receive dozens of olive oil samples from our suppliers every day. Being the first productions, we encounter both top quality products and olive oils which are not perfect yet, due to the initial pressing activity of the mills. Understanding the potential of these oils is our expertise.

All our suppliers are highly qualified companies that have been cooperating with us for a long time and that we follow during the entire year throughout the olive cultivation and production process. The characteristics of the first olive oils might not match with those of the subsequent productsions, but help us understand the quality potential of their region or sub-region.

The reassuring element for the entire sector is that olive oils that are currently being produced are of the highest quality on average.

In the Mediterranean basin, of course, there is not only Italy among the major live oil producing countries. While Spain, the first producer by quantity, had to delay the harvest due to the summer drought, Tunisia’s abundant output seems to be of particular interest. Tunisian contribution is crucial for the entire Mediterranean area where traditionally olive oil is consumed in large quantities – with Italy at the forefront.

This hectic tasting and selection phase will absorb our business until the end of the year. This is the time of olio novello (new, fresh olive oil), which embodies the highest taste quality and organoleptic intensity, being the quality of an oil directly related to its freshness. For those who have never tried it, we suggest to taste fresh olive oil at this time of year to enjoy and appreciate intensity and differences.

Paccheri pasta, red mullets, cream of courgettes, yellow fish and extra virgin olive oil powder

Paccheri pasta, red mullets, cream of courgettes, yellow fish and extra virgin olive oil powder

Ingredients

  • 300 g paccheri pasta
  • 6 red mullets, washed and de-scaled
  • 200 g trombetta courgettes cream
  • Red mullets reduction
  • Santagata extra virgin olive oil
  • 50 g maltodextrin
  • 2 yellow peaches
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Butter
  • Cane sugar

For the tempura:

  • 100 g rice flour
  • Ice

Prepare the fish, cut it into small pieces. Let the butter melt in a pan, add the sugar and the peaches. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar, let it evaporate and then reduce. Melt a knob of butter in a pan, add the mullet reserve and the two mullets cut into pieces. Cook the paccheri in salted boiling water, finish cooking the mullet sauce. Prepare the tempura with rice flour and ice and fry the remaining mullet in peanut oil. Gently pour a steady stream of olive oil onto the maltodextrin until obtaining oil in powder. Place the courgettes cream in the middle of the plate, lay the paccheri, the fish and the fried mullet on top. Finish off the with powdered oil.

Ivano Ricchebono received the Michelin star in 2010 and is in all the major food guides. He has been a regular guest on the Rai 1 television show ‘La Prova del Cuoco’, with Antonella Clerici, since 2010. In 2018, he relocated his Michelin starred restaurant ‘The Cook’ to the Cavo restaurant in Genoa old city center.

These recipes are taken from chapter 6 of the book “An Olive Oil Family” written by Cristina e Federico Santagata on the occasion of the 110 years of their company and pubblished by Olio Officina Edizioni.

Piedmont fillet of Fassona beef with baby vegetables and ‘Neve’ extra virgin olive oil

Piedmont fillet of Fassona beef with baby vegetables and ‘Neve’ extra virgin olive oil

Serves 10:

  • 2000 g fillet of Fassona beef
  • 20 g balanced salt
  • 200 g baby carrots
  • 100 g baby turnips
  • 200 g veal sauce
  • 100 g onion
  • 10 pouches 15×25 for sous-vide cooking
  • Santagata ‘Neve’ extra virgin olive oil

Method:

Remove the fat and the nerves from the fillet, season with balanced salt for red meat and wrap in cling film. Let the meat rest in the fridge for approx three hours. Slice into portions of 170/180 g each, place in the pouches and cook using the sous-vide method for 50 minutes at 55° in the water oven. Plunge into water and ice and keep at 3°. Regenerate in the water oven for approx. 10 minutes, open the pouch and dry well. Brown the meat in a pan with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and then cut. Serve with mangetout, white turnip and baby carrots together with the veal sauce. Dress with Santagata ‘Neve’ extra virgin olive oil.

Head Chef at Ristorante Vistamare, Claudio Fortuna, whose family has its roots in Abruzzo – was born in Paglieta, in the province of Chieti – and graduated from the Villa Santa Maria hotel and catering college. Ten years ago, following several seasons working in the most prestigious Ligurian hotels, and other regions, he was attracted to the Gran Hotel Miramare in Santa Margherita, first as a shift manager and, for the last three years, as the Head Chef of the Vistamare.
Previously, Fortuna boasted of prestigious collaborations with the Hotel Splendido in Portofino, the Cipriani in Venice, the Imperial Palace Hotel in Santa Margherita and the Excelsior Palace in Rapallo.

These recipes are taken from chapter 6 of the book “An Olive Oil Family” written by Cristina e Federico Santagata on the occasion of the 110 years of their company and pubblished by Olio Officina Edizioni.