Top Pick Of The Week

June 16, 2009

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Chicken Salad

Imagine how Rosemary Basil Oil or Garlic Oil will enliven the dressing for this chicken salad—or for that matter, Blood Orange Oil! Photo by Kelly Cline | IST.

WHAT IT IS: Infused olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Fresh, vibrant flavors of infused oils make you think you just squeezed the fruit (or infused the herb) into them.
WHY WE LOVE IT: It turns every dish into a holiday of flavor, for no extra calories. And, for those who drink olive oil daily for health, it’s a taste treat.

Sonoma Farm Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Page 2: Infused Olive Oil Flavors

This is Page 2 of a four-page review. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.



Varieties Of Sonoma Farm Infused Olive Oil

Sonoma Farm makes infused olive oils in six flavors, to meet customers’ growing demands for a healthy and flavorful alternative to saturated fat-laden butter and spreads (read the health facts section to see why you should be using more EVOO and less saturated fat). Tasting these wonderfully smooth, fragrant and palate-exciting oils proved to be a happy culinary exploration. 

Any of the infused oils would perk up a vinaigrette, make a more flavorful rub or serve as anointing oil on a vast number of dishes. You can even double-team the oils—for example, a drizzle of both Blood Orange Oil and Rosemary Basil Oil on a piece of fish. You’ll have fun playing with applications. Here are some suggestions, for starters:

Fruit Infused Olive Oil

First, the fruits—flavorful California citrus married to equally lovely California olive oil.

  • Lemon Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The potent, bright lemon flavor is perfect for a delicate poached or grilled white fish like flounder.  If you're feeling adventurous, you could even drizzle it on sorbet.
  • Lime Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Zesty, tart and a little peppery, we recommend this one for livening up huevos rancheros or corn on the cob—with a dusting of chili powder. 
  • Blood Orange Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The sweet, special citrus flavor (read more about blood oranges) is ideal for a fruit salad dressing with a few drops of aged balsamic, or served with a hard cheese.
Infused Olive Oil
If Botticelli’s “Primavera” were olive oil, here are the Three Graces (or at least three of the six): Lemon, Garlic and Lime. Photo by Corey Lugg | THE NIBBLE. Styling by Lauren LaPenna.

Herb Infused Olive Oil

  • Fresh Garlic Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This oil is perfect for an encounter with a baguette, a fruity wine and friends who think this is as good an idea as we do. Actually, all of the oils make great dippers, so setting them all up for a tasting is a great party concept.  Unlike other garlic oils we’ve tasted, there’s no unpleasant bite here—it’s as classy as the rest of the line. (Sonoma Farm says that one of the differences is that they use fresh garlic, as opposed to the roasted garlic used by some other oils.)
  • Hot Pepper Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Don’t let the mild, fruity beginning fool you. This one packs a fiery cayenne punch within seconds, so use a light hand. Blast jumbo shrimp with a couple of tablespoons at medium-high heat. In two to three minutes you have a lively appetizer. Culinary history note: Hot peppers are actually hot chiles, misnamed by Christopher Columbus, the first European to taste a chile during one of his voyages to the New World (assuming that he got to taste them before anyone else in his crew). The heat reminded him of the black peppercorns that had come to Europe via spice traders—which have no botanical relationship whatsoever to chiles—so he called them “pepper” and the misnomer stuck. Read about the different types of chiles, as they are called by the New World people who cultivated them.
  • Rosemary and Basil Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Basil olive oil is the best-selling infused flavor; so when we noted the addition of rosemary, we thought, “Why mess with a successful formula?” One taste and you’ll know why. A strong but refreshing astringent nose, well-balanced by fresh, green basil. Perfect for transforming an everyday chicken breast.

All of the savory infusions can be tossed with pasta, rice or potatoes; so can the citrus oils, if you add savory ingredients to balance the recipe.

And while we’ve already admitted to loving them equally, the best sellers are Garlic, Lemon and Rosemary Basil. (Keep in mind that most retailers won’t stock the full line, so these can be retailers’ top picks as much as consumers’. Fortunately, you can order whatever you want from Sonoma Farm’s online store—see Page 4.

Continue To Page 3: Balsamic Vinegars

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