by Jane Rodmell for All The Best Fine Foods, a Certified Good Food fighter
This summer at All The Best we plan to take our customers on a Mediterranean tour. Each month we focus on the tastes of a different country… seeking out extra special products from other lands and using them with our local produce and meats to create fabulous new and classic dishes in our kitchen.
This month we’re in Spain and, since it’s so blazing hot outside, we can imagine ourselves on the Costa Brava with no trouble at all! We’re dining on bacalao fritters and patatas bravas, snacking on Monte Enebro (a goat’s milk cheese made on a family farm in Avila) and sipping chilly gazpacho and it’s great!
Spain has long been renowned for producing some of the best olives and olive oil in the world. One of my favourites is Nunez de Prado. This organic, unfiltered extra-virgin olive oil is produced on a family-owned estate in Andalusia using a unique crushing method where the olives are pressed under giant granite millstones causing the ‘flor’ (flower) to run off. The oil that drips naturally from the crushed olives captures all the essential fruity, earthy olive flavors and is deliciously addictive. Transform the simplest foods into something special. Drizzle the oil over grilled vegetables, steak or fish. Use as a bread dipper or brush on crostini and make a sensational dressing for your salads.
Grilled Asparagus Salad with Shaved Manchego
Use a mixture of green and white asparagus, if you like, and choose fresh medium to thick stalks-thin spindly asparagus does not stay juicy when grilled.
2 lbs (1 kg) asparagus, trimmed
2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) grated lemon zest
Freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
¼ cup (60 ml) shaved aged Manchego cheese
Toss asparagus stalks with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill until tender, turning every 2 to 3 minutes to cook and brown evenly, 6 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalks.
Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with shallot and lemon zest and season to taste with pepper and lemon juice. Arrange on a platter and top with shavings of Manchego.
Enjoy! All the best!