Happy November, everyone! Today I want to share with you some inspiring work created by a couple of very talented people on matters near and dear to my heart: namely, olive oil and Portugal. Plus, I've included one of my recipes for a delicious (and easy) seasonal meal.
If you're into olive oil at all, you've probably come across the New York Times' bestselling book on the olive oil trade by Tom Mueller. It's a fascinating read, well-written and researched, documenting the cultural history of olive oil (did you know archaeologists have found evidence of olive oil dating back to 5,800 BC?) and the ongoing battle for authenticity between the mass globalization of olive oil production and the small, independent artisan producers. While some critics have accused the author of exaggerating the claims of fraudulent EVOO labeling, I think it's still a great resource for learning about the significance of olive oil around the world. Plus, he gives you lots of insight on how to choose your own olive oils to ensure quality. Entertaining and informative. Be sure to pick up a copy of Extra Virginity: the sublime and scandalous world of olive oil at a favorite independent bookshop.
Want more natural history and cultural heritage? Check out this inspiring video about one of Portugal's vanishing traditions. Ricardo Guerreiro is a Portuguese filmmaker and photographer who has produced documentaries for National Geographic Portugal and written books on natural history.
While most of Ricardo's videos are in Portuguese Arrabida, Almada, and Al-Rabita are in English.
To see more of his beautiful images, be sure to check out his website and follow him on Facebook.
Recently, I submitted a photo and recipe to Pelican Hill Resort for their annual Festa dell'Autunno contest and won! Here's the very easy and quick recipe:
Autumn Vegetables with Proscuitto Roasted Sea Bass
2 medium, diced potatoes (2 cups)
3 diced parsnips (2 cups)
1 butternut squash (2 cups)
6 diced carrots (2 cups)
salt and pepper
4 cloves of garlic, minced
6 fillets of sea bass (about 7 - 8 ounces)
6 slices of Italian prosciutto or Portuguese presunto
(this was for an Italian event, so I chose prosciutto in this particular instance but would normally choose the Portuguese version)
small bunch of fresh picked rosemary
1 stick of butter
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
Place all the vegetables in a roasting pan or sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Toss with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes in a 400 degree preheated oven, being sure to turn over the vegetables at least once. Add the garlic and continue roasting for another 10 minutes to make sure vegetables are cooked. Brush the fillets with olive oil and place on a baking rack over a foil-lined sheet pan. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap each fillet with a slice of prosciutto all the way around the middle. Roast for 10 - 15 minutes until the the center of the fish is flaky. Melt the butter over low heat and add the rosemary. After 5 minutes, remove the rosemary and add the lemon juice. Serve the the fish surrounded with vegetables on a platter and pour the rosemary butter over the fish.
*If your grocer doesn't stock bass, you can substitute halibut, cod, or orange roughy.