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In addition to sharing a delicious recipe with you today for Olive Oil & Herb Savory Biscotti – we’re going to give you a mini-lesson on what to look for when purchasing extra virgin olive oil!
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending an event in Boston sponsored by the Flavor Your Life campaign which seeks to educate the general public on the origin, production, and traceability of European high-quality extra virgin olive oil, as well as ways to use it when cooking!
We learned about specific things to look for when buying olive oil to ensure that we are getting the extra virgin quality for which we are paying! (More on that below.) We also had the chance to do some hands-on cooking as a group, making delicious recipes with extra virgin olive oil. I was very excited to make this wonderful Olive Oil & Herb Savory Biscotti recipe that we are sharing with you today!
The discussion at the event also reminded me of our honeymoon several years ago, where Jack and I spent a week in Tuscany attending a cooking school which was located at the time among the hills of a beautiful olive orchard! We were in Italy during the month of October – right at the time when the fall olive harvest was just beginning. As you can see from the photos from our trip below, nets are placed on the ground to catch the falling olives and later gathered for pressing and bottling.
During our trip, we visited an olive tree that was authenticated to be more than 2,000 years old. (So impressive to see!)
Prior to the Flavor Your Life event, I had never made (or eaten) a savory biscotti before – so I was very excited to make this olive oil & herb savory biscotti at our event! It has fantastic flavors thanks to parmesan cheese, fresh rosemary and thyme and cracked black pepper – and this is wonderful biscotti to serve on a cheese platter with wine, or alongside a salad.
And of course, when you are cooking with olive oil – for any recipe – you want to make sure to use a good quality extra virgin olive oil so that your finished recipe has the best quality flavors. Unfortunately, there are bottles of olive oil sold on the market today that are blended with other lesser quality oils – so as consumers, we need to know what to look for before buying!
Here are a few things to look for when buying extra-virgin:
- On the label, look for an acidity of 0.8% or lower (this tells you the oil you are buying is from the first press of the olives)
- Look for a harvest date on the bottle. Olives are harvested in the Fall – so for the freshest oil, you want to purchase an olive oil with a harvest date that is no older that the prior Fall.
- Look for a PDO or PGI symbol (like the one shown in the photo below specific to the Tuscany region). Oils bearing these symbols have “exceptional properties and quality derived from their place of origin as well as from the way of their production.” (Source: Wikipedia)
For more information, visit Flavor Your Life. Disclaimer: I received free samples of olive oil, a small gift bag and lunch from Flavor Your Life as part of my attendance at their event, but otherwise, I was not compensated for my time or for this post. I wanted to share this recipe with our readers simply because I loved it, and I also wanted to share some of the information I learned about olive oil for strictly educational purposes.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Flavor Your Life.
- 1½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup fine cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, cornmeal and baking powder. Stir in Parmesan, walnuts, pepper, rosemary, thyme and garlic powder, mixing until well blended.
- Whisk together eggs, sugar & olive oil until well combined. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients to form a dough. Put on a lightly floured surface and shape into two logs (approximately 10” x 3”). Transfer to baking sheet & press slightly to flatten logs.
- Bake 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 13-15 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. Carefully transfer logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice each log crosswise, on a slight diagonal, into ½-inch slices. Return slices to the baking sheet, laying them on their sides in a single layer.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully flip each slice over. Bake for 10-12 additional minutes. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
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