A good olive oil

Bread and olive oil. Nothing could be more simple and more delicious. Americans often question the cost of buying a good olive oil, but for certain uses, a good olive oil is one of the best investements you can make in your cooking. I like a green and peppery oil, reminiscent of the Tuscan style using olives that are harvested green in the winter months and pressed immediately. In California, the mission olive is one of my favorite varietals grown to realize that same perfect profile.
And always look for estate grown extra virgin olive oil .Estate grown means that the olive oil has been pressed from olives grown on the property of the estate. It usually signifies a smaller crop and more qualitative production. Anything less than extra virgin for using the oil fresh is a waste of money. And likewise, a good olive oil will lose its flavor when heated, so stick with less expensive oils for cooking.

Arugula and Parmesan Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

4 handfuls of washed and dried arugula leaves
1 cup of Parmesan cheese shavings {use a vegetable peeler}
Juice of one lemon {try a Meyer lemon if in season}
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk the oil into the juice until emulsified. Season to taste. Salt adds the critical balance for the tart and tangy citrus.
In a seperate bowl, gently toss the arugula and Parmesan with only enough vinaigrette needed to lightly coat the leaves.
Serve immediately.

We had this salad the other day at lunch after a delicious lunch cooked by our friend. He grilled a marinated flank steak over his hardwood grill. They pair wonderfully together as one dish.

Buon appetito!
alisa barry
copyright 2007

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