Photo by Karen Yencich

 

From our Winter 2012 article,  The Making of an Olive Oil Culture

In 2009, Chef Amy Murray hosted an all-olive-oil dinner at her Venus Restaurant in Berkeley for her Slow Food chapter. The crowd of more than 50 sat down to a first course of olive oil crackers with fresh cheese marinated in olive oil, herbs, and garlic followed by a celeriac soup drizzled with olio nuovo (the current harvest’s new olive oil). The main course was halibut poached in olive oil served with a parsley-mint salsa, roasted baby carrots, braised leeks, and Bloomsdale spinach. An olive oil cake with blood oranges, blood orange caramel, and coriander Chantilly cream capped the evening.

1½ cups whole wheat flour
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup warm water
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for coating and brushing dough)
3 teaspoons finely diced fresh herbs, such as rosemary, tarragon, parsley, or a combination of these (optional)
Maldon sea salt

In a large bowl, combine both kinds of flour with the salt. Slowly add the water and olive oil and mix the dough at medium speed for 5–7 minutes. (Use an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment or a wooden spoon.) The dough should be tacky, but if it is too sticky or too dry, add a bit more flour or water, respectively.

Shape the dough into 6 or 8 balls, lightly coat with olive oil, and place on a clean plate. Cover with a clean dishtowel or plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30–45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450°.

Place 1 dough ball on a floured surface and with a rolling pin roll out to make it as flat and even as possible. Slice the dough evenly into cracker-size pieces and arrange on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Poke each cracker with a fork a few times to prevent puffing.

Brush lightly with the same EVOO, or for added flavor, brush with a bolder peppery oil. Sprinkle with the herbs and sea salt. Place into oven and bake until golden-brown and crispy but not burnt. Allow to cool before storing.

 

Revival Bar and Kitchen
2102 Shattuck Ave Berkeley
510.549.9950
revivalbarandkitchen.com

Venus Restaurant
2327 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley
510.540.5950
venussolano.com