Over the Moon for Olive Oil

Come taste a variety of California extra-virgin olive oils and learn how to choose, use, and store them. Tastings take place in Market Hall’s Berkeley and Oakland stores through the end of June and offer special pricing and prize giveaways. Pacific Sun award-winning oils are featured on Saturday, June 29. Info: here

Market Hall Foods in Rockridge
5655 College Ave, Oakland        

Market Hall Foods on Fourth Street
1786 4th St‎, Berkeley

Try these recipes featuring California olive oils:

Olive Oil Rice Flour and Almond Sponge Cake
Recipe by Alice Medrich

This almond-crusted sponge cake with a nuance of orange zest is perfect just as it is, or you can serve it with whipped cream and fresh fruit. Rice instead of wheat flour not only makes the cake gluten free, but it also highlights the flavor of the olive oil. For best results, measure with a scale.

Makes 8–10 servings 

Generous tablespoon (20 grams) softened butter
2 teaspoons (20 grams) sugar
2/3 cup (55 grams) sliced almonds
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (85 grams) extra-virgin olive oil
1 unsprayed or organic orange
2/3 cup (100 grams) rice flour
2/3 cup (130 grams) sugar
4 large cold eggs
Generous 1/8 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar for dusting, optional

Prepare a 9-inch diameter, 2-inch high pan by mixing the softened butter with the sugar and smearing it over the bottom and sides of the pan. Then coat the bottom and sides with a loose layer of sliced almonds. (You will need to use your fingers to stick some of the almonds to the sides of the pan.)

Place your oven rack in the lower third and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the olive oil into bowl that can accommodate 4–6 cups. (It must be large enough to fold some of the batter into later.) Grate the zest of half of the orange over the oil. 

In another bowl, whisk the rice flour with 25 grams (2 tablespoons) of the sugar.

Put the remaining sugar, eggs, and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mixture is tripled in volume and forms a slowly dissolving ribbon when the beater is lifted.

Sift 1/3 of the flour over the eggs. Fold until the flour is almost blended. Repeat with half of the remaining flour. Repeat with the rest of the flour, folding until all of the flour is blended.  

Scrape about 1/4 of the batter over the olive oil. Fold until the oil is completely blended into the batter. Scrape the oiled batter over the remaining batter and fold just until blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and just beginning to shrink from the sides of the pan. 

Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Slide a slim spatula around the sides of the cake and unmold it onto a rack. Turn the cake right side up to finish cooling. Serve plain or dusted with a little powdered sugar. 

Caprese Pasta Salad
Recipe by Asha Loupy

Sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, peppery arugula, and a vibrant basil dressing come together in this simple pasta salad inspired by the traditional Italian Caprese salad. 

Cook’s Note: It’s important to liberally salt your pasta cooking water as this is the only chance to season the pasta itself. How much salt is enough? As our good friend and resident Italian Rolando Beramendi says, “the water should taste like the sea.” 

8 ounces short-cut pasta (such as Rustichella d’Abruzzo’s Torchio or Le Virtù)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Calivirgin Basil Olive Oil
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
1½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
6 ounces fresh bocconcini, (egg-size mozzarella balls), quartered
2 cups baby arugula
½ cup basil leaves, torn into bite-size pieces
Salt & pepper

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente and drain well. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl, toss with the olive oil (so the pasta doesn’t stick together), and let cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, whisk the basil oil and lemon juice together.

To assemble the pasta salad, combine the halved tomatoes, quartered bocconcini, arugula, basil leaves, and basil dressing with the pasta. Toss and season with salt and pepper. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Photos courtesy of Market Hall Foods.