Spanish Olive Oil Recipes
You hardly need a recipe to enjoy Spanish olive oil every day. It is delicious in salad dressings, sprinkled over steamed vegetables with a few drops of lemon juice, as a dip for crusty bread, instead of using butter, or for a plate of vegetable sticks along with some balsamic vinegar. We have chosen a few tasty recipes to give you a starting point for using more Spanish olive oil in your everyday cooking.
This cold tomato and bread soup is eaten chilled as a cooling summer treat and is full of healthy fresh nutrients as well as flavour.
6 ripe tomatoes • 1 red pepper • 1 medium onion • 1 cucumber • 5 cloves garlic • 1 loaf slightly stale crusty bread • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar • 6 tablespoons Spanish extra virgin olive oil • Salt and pepper • 1 teaspoon cumin (optional) • Iced water to blend.
Soak the bread in cold water for half an hour. Dice the tomatoes and deseed and chop the pepper. Chop the onion and garlic. Peel and chop the cucumber.
Blend all the chopped vegetables in the food processor with about ½ cup iced water. Squeeze the water from the bread in your hands. Add the bread to the processor with the olive oil, vinegar and a seasoning of salt and pepper and cumin if using. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
Serve with a garnish of some or all of the following: chopped boiled eggs, chopped cucumber, croutons, chopped onion.
Citrus Olive Oil cake
Baking with olive oil is a Spanish tradition and here it is flavoured with zesty lemon and orange to give a delicious, moist cake that keeps well.
1 medium orange • 1 medium lemon • 4 eggs • 125g sugar • 175g plain flour • 3 teaspoons baking powder • 220ml Spanish extra virgin olive oil • 125g toasted, finely chopped almonds
Rinse the fruit and place in a saucepan covered with water. Bring to the boil and simmer until the skin is tender: ½ to 1 hour depending on the fruit. Drain the fruit and allow it to cool. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Grease and line a 23cm cake tin. Halve the fruit and discard the pulp and seeds.
Puree the skins in a food processor until finely chopped. Beat the eggs together with an electric whisk, gradually adding the sugar. Beat until pale and fluffy. Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together then fold into the beaten egg mixture, alternating with the olive oil. Now fold in the almonds and pureed fruit. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
No icing is needed but you can dust with icing sugar if you like.
Cheese in Oil
If you have a wonderful fresh Spanish cheese that you want to keep moist and full of flavour, you can preserve it in Spanish olive oil with herbs, so that the flavour becomes deeper and more complex over time.
A good Spanish cheese • Spanish Extra Virgin olive oil (a fruity, nutty one) • Fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, oregano • 1 bay leaf • 3-4 black peppercorns. • A large clean jar with a well sealing lid.
Cut the cheese into dice or chunky wedges, whichever you prefer. Mix the oil with the herbs. Put the cheese pieces into the jar and pour the herbed oil over them to cover. Leave for at least a month for the flavours to mingle.
This cheese will keep for up to a year and is great for tapas or just with crusty bread for lunch.
Homer called it "liquid gold." The olive tree, symbol of abundance, glory and peace, gave its leafy branches to crown the victorious in friendly games and bloody war, and the oil of its fruit has anointed the noblest of heads throughout history.