Cooking with Olive Oil

Here’s a collection of recipes and tips from California chefs and olive oil professionals compiled to encourage your enjoyment of olio nuovo and new-harvest oils during the harvest season. You'll learn how to feature the fresh and flavorful 2022 oils and also, ways to use up your 2021 oils quickly. (Remember, olive oil never improves with age.)

Interested in trying extra virgin olive oil in recipes that don't call for it? Here's a handy conversion guide.

The extraordinary character of OLIO NUOVO doesn't last (it's not meant to), so you should use it up quickly! We asked a group of food professionals for their favorite ways to enjoy it. Click the picture at right to see how Chez Panisse Chef Amy Dencler, Zuni Café Chef Nate Norris, ENZO olive oil producer Vincent Ricchiuti, Authentico author Rolando Beremundi, and olive oil educator Robert Klugman enjoy their olio nuovo supplies within weeks of getting them from the mill.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Celebration Cake

This recipe, a tribute to the olive harvest, was created by renowned cookbook author Alice Medrich for the birthday of a very dear friend. Light-as-a-feather, extra virgin olive oil sponge layers are brushed with even more olive oil, then filled with bright kumquat conserve and olive oil buttercream. Judicious sprinklings of salt along the way and a final coat of chocolate make this one of Medrich's all-time favorite celebration cakes.

Hallmarks of Spring Risotto with Asparagus, Snap Peas, and Fava Beans is a great way to feature the best flavors of spring with your most delicious 2022 extra virgin olive oil. We include lots of suggestions of producers and varietal oils and blends to choose for this dish.

Janell Pekkain, olive oil sommelier and co-founder of Olive This Olive That and Prmry likes to grill all year round, and this Crispy Grilled Chicken Breast with Lemon & Thyme really shows off the potential olive oil offers to grilling. "The extra virgin olive oil added at the end keeps this chicken super moist and delicious," she says.

Michele Belotti, chef/owner of Belotti Ristorantee Bottega in Oakland, California, always features his favorite olive oils on his menu. He first created this Porcini Vellutata recipe for a Séka Hills tasting event, but you can try it at home. You just need to go find some porcini and olio nuovo!

Photo by Judy Doherty

When we made this splendid salad of chestnuts, Brussels sprouts, and kale for Thanksgiving, we discovered it was the perfect medium for showing off a fresh, new 2022 olive oil, and olio nuovo especially. We used Olivaia’s OLA.

This Heirloom Almond Apple Cake recipe comes from Gold Ridge Organic Farms in Sebastopol, where farmer Brook Hazan grows apples, citrus, and olives on 88 idyllic acres. This is a great place to experience an expert, multi-faceted olive oil TASTING right beside some gorgeous old olive trees like those in our gallery of orchards. On the Gold Ridge patio, you’ll also meet a unique citrus hybrid called the mandarin kumquat. The farm co-presses those fruits with olives in its mill, and the delicious oil can add its spark to salads or to this cake recipe.

Chef Dominica Rice-Cisneros highlights olio nuovo and other extra virgin olive oils at her restaurant, Bombera in Oakland. She created this recipe for Baked Yams with Toasted Almonds Salsa Macha as a special way to celebrate the harvest this season.

Fuyu persimmons arrive at their splendid orange ripeness right around the time that California producers start milling their new-harvest olive oils. In 2021, Chef Nate Norris brought the two together at San Francisco’s iconic ZUNI CAFÉ. Find two of his salad recipes here.

Photo by Judy Doherty

During the colder days of the harvest season at Bondolio Olive Farm in Winters, Bond family members enjoy their new oil and also use up last year's supply by making their special Bondolio Bean Soup.

Photo by Judy Doherty

Yes! You can use olive oil instead of butter in baking, and you can also fry with it! Here’s our conversion chart and frying information to help you get in the swing.

Baking is a good way to use up last year’s supply of extra virgin olive oil to make room in your cupboard for the current-harvest oils. Try this Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cake recipe created by Alice Medrich, author of many beloved baking cookbooks and a strong believer in the virtues of extra virgin olive oil in baking.

Photo by Judy Doherty

To show off your new-harvest olive oil in spring, when green garlic arrives at your farmers’ market, make Edible Monterey Bay’s Celery Root and Leek Soup with Green Garlic Gremolata from Persephone restaurant in Aptos, California. Chef Cory Cori Goudge-Ayer used a new extra virgin olive oil from Wild Poppies, a Santa Cruz–producer covered in our Spring 2021 story, Olive Oil Synergies

Photo by Chris Schmauch

Olive Oil Old Fashioned Doughnuts

Edible Vancouver Island published this recipe along with their Summer 2022 story about the Olive Farm on Salt Springs Island, BC, which could be Canada’s only commercial producer of extra virgin olive oil. The recipe is an example of a traditional sweet snack made with olive oil that would be appreciated by olive pickers and millers working during the cold months of the fall and winter olive harvest season. Find the recipe here.

A winter ritual in Italy's Piemonte region, Bagna Cauda (literally, hot bath) is a medieval peasant tradition celebrating a historic trade arrangement, the marriage of Spanish anchovies and extra virgin olive oil.

Olive Oil Cocktails

Follow Edible Shasta-Butte contributor Stephen David Caldes on his epic discovery of how to mix a variety of olive oil cocktails. Cheers!

Award-winning cookbook writer Amelia Saltsman talks about the importance of olive oil throughout Jewish history in the story that introduces her recipe for Sweet and Savory Cheese Pancakes.

Photo by Judy Doherty

Meet chef/photographer Judy Doherty, who created the recipe photos above (and more) for Edible East Bay's Winter Harvest 2021 issue story on olio nuovo and new-harvest olive oils. As she was exploring the unique flavors in extra virgin olive oils from different sources, she created the following recipes: Ricotta Dip with & Pistachios, Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagna, and Bruschetta.

Ricotta Dip with Pesto & Pistachios