New Portugal Harvests
It's fall, my favorite time of year. I love when days are still warm, but nights get crisper and chillier. I love wearing boots and scarves and drinking fresh hot chocolate. And, despite the hate I might get for this… I love all the flavors that come with pumpkin, including pumpkin spice. But not that syrupy sweet stuff! I like the cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and cardamom flavors – the true flavors of pumpkin spice.
Fall also means it’s time to welcome some new autumnal extra virgin olive oils from Portugal. This year, we've brought in Cobrancosa Robust and Lentrisca Robust. Bold, bright extra virgin olive oils ready to use as the weather cools.
Our Cobrancosa is an olive varietal that is an overall favorite in the Portuguese market. Every year, Portugese chefs wait for the Cobrancosa to be ready for harvest and be milled and pressed so they can offer it at bread service. Bread service is a sort of appetizer - the bread and dips that go with it set the tone and flavor for the dishes to come. It's a restaurant's chance to set a first impression and show off their skills.
The green, apple, grassy and herbaceous center flavor of our Cobrancosa Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil is rounded out by savory notes of tomato leaf and it has a nice, peppery finish. It's a well-rounded oil that can be used in any dish or simply used raw. I like to use it to cook scrambled eggs in the morning and to keep my trusty cast iron pan seasoned.
Our Lentrisca Robust extra virgin olive oil is BIG this year. And by big, I mean the polyphenol content is incredibly high – a whopping 696!
Polyphenols are a category of compounds that are naturally occurring in foods such as olives, grapes, spices, berries, dark chocolate and wine (all my favorite things). They can act like antioxidants, meaning they can neutralize free radicals that otherwise damage your cells and increase your risk of some diseases. Polyphenols also aid in reducing inflammation, which is also a chronic condition associated with many harmful diseases. The higher the polyphenol content of a food, the better it is supposed to be for you.
In the case of this year’s Lentrisca Robust, polyphenols can be tasted in the very strong, peppery finish. With the pungency of arugula and notes of asparagus, it's astringent, powerful and complex. It works well in delicate and savory dishes that are well-seasoned, like roasted meats and vegetables, grilled meats and big protein-enriched salads.
Both of these oils also make great additions to sauces, including fresh pesto and chimichurri. The intensity of the polyphenols add pepperiness and bite, making the sauces extra flavorful. And as mentioned above, these robust extra virgin olive oils are a must for bread service. Create your own, simplified version by combining one of these oils with our classic Denissimo Specialty Dark Vinegar as a dipper for fresh crusty baguettes. The ultimate appetizer!