Using Olive Your Imagination

One of the things I’ve learned through cooking is that food outside of its familiar context is not necessarily a bad thing and great dishes often come about when we loosen up the boundaries of how and when we believe certain foods should be used. Check out the blog Ideas In Food for some incredible examples of this philosophy put into action.

The other night I abandoned all culinary preconceptions myself while deciding upon dessert for a small dinner party I was hosting and my guests were pretty excited with the results.

I was recently given a bottle of incredible extra virgin olive oil straight from Tuscany — the kind that is pond green and tastes of fresh cut grass and tart green apples. It’s some of the best oil I’ve ever tasted and I knew that I wanted to treat my guests to a sampling of it.

Having experienced the unconventional, yet sublime, combination of ice cream with olive oil before, I decided that this would be a perfect way to show off my oil, so I whipped up a batch of rich, vanilla ice cream– heavy on the yolks.

Following dinner, I presented each guest with a small dish of ice cream and, demonstrating with my own, I poured out a thin stream of oil, topping it with a few flakes of black sea salt from Cyprus.

While my guests took turns passing the olive oil and salt around the table, I sat back and delighted in watching their surprise and excitement as the first bites hit their tongues. It had elicited the exact response I was hoping for.

This dish is easily replicated using store bought ice cream (as long as it is made from the best ingredients), a very high quality bottle of extra virgin olive oil and any unflavored, coarse sea salt.

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            L'Ecole Culinaire , Saint Louis
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