Aug 022014

After my recent travels to Puglia, Italy’s southernmost region, I’ve had its big, bold olive oils on my mind. The province of Bari, founded well before the 8th century BC when it was absorbed by Magna Graecia, has lived on olive oil for millennia. Today the area still makes most of Italy’s olive oils. Drive past places with names like Cassano delle Murge, Bitetto, Bitonto, Bitritto, and Binetto, and you see nothing but forests of olive trees and billows of sky, interrupted now and then by towns undisturbed by tourism. But where once, production was geared toward quantity to meet Europe’s demand for lamp oil, today these fertile flatlands, dotted with small olive farms, are producing some of Italy’s most intriguing olive oils.

Olive groves, Puglia. Photo: Nathan Hoyt

Olive groves, Puglia. Photo: Nathan Hoyt

One in particular that came to my attention is Crudo, meaning “raw” in Italian, an estate-bottled extra-virgin olive oil from a small producer in Bitetto, a town so rustic that a traveler cannot find one single restaurant there—or in other towns for miles around, for that matter. The oil’s fresh and potent herbaceous aromas and spiciness lifts everything from fish to red meats, especially when they are grilled, and especially when they are peppery.

Ingredients for Peppery Steak Salad. Photo: Nathan Hoyt

The necessary ingredients for Peppery Steak, Potato and Arugula Salad. Photo: Nathan Hoyt

With summer in full swing, I came up with this recipe for a peppery steak and potato salad layered over arugula for those evenings when nothing appeals as much as a barbecue.  It’s a re-make of the old-fashioned steak au poivre, but lighter, sleeker, and healthier. The tasty flank steak is coated in smashed peppercorns, seared over hot coals, and layered over arugula with its natural bold spiciness, and boiled sweet fingerling potatoes. I couldn’t think of a better dressing than that beautiful and succulent greengold Crudo.

Continue here to my article in Zester Daily for the full story, the recipe, and sources for buying Crudo.


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  4 Responses to “Steak and Potatoes Take on New Meaning Doused with Bold Olive Oils”

  1. Julia
    Another lovely recipe with Olive oil. This is so wonderful. We had some potatoes in our garden and the insects ate the leaves so my wife dug them up and prepared something similar but much less elegant with olive oil

    Great job


  2. Wonderful article, Julia! I absolutely flipped for this oil. I actually had to laugh because I found myself eating it as “snack food.” Where normally I might cruise through my kitchen and grab a cookie, once I tasted the Olio Crudo, I walked into the kitchen, cut a small piece of bread and poured some oil over it. That glorious oil glistened as it flowed over the bread, filling the holes and slipping down the side. I could not get enough of it. Can you just imagine what a joy it must be to produce such an oil? I’d love to go to the producer’s for a visit.

    • Agreed. I always have numerous olive oils going at the same time, one for this, one for that… When I go for the Olio Crudo, it’s like that special roast or main dish—unapologetically hefty, big and bold, lusty, with all the bitter and sweet of Puglia on it; not a show tune, but opera. I’m going to get me some right now, Adri Barr-Crocetti!…

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