25 Jul

Olive oil all year

It’s a delicious base for all your summer salads and marinades

By Gail Ciampa,

If you don’t think you should reach for olive oil for summer cooking, think again.

As much as we love grilling, sometimes we tire of the same old, same old. You might find yourself discouraged paying for already marinated meats, or bored with your everyday bottled marinades. You can use olive oil as a base for a new one. Just marry it with some wonderful fresh herbs from the garden. Or if you like lemon, pair it with some fresh squeezed juice and add garlic or, my favorite when I want some heat, peppercorns.

Salads have long relied on olive oil for their flavor. It can be paired simply with a balsamic vinegar and fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves. Or you can try something new and toss orzo pasta with it. Then, blend the pasta with cucumbers and onions, and you have a light lunch that’s a bit out of the ordinary.

Finally, we have dessert. The people at the North American Olive Oil Association have devised a recipe that combines sweet strawberries, grated orange peel, extra virgin olive oil and honey for a seasonal dessert on a spoon.

ROMANOFF SUMMER BERRIES

  • 1 lb (about 4 cups) fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange or tangerine peel
  • 1/4 cup orange or tangerine juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Combine all ingredients in plastic food storage bag. Seal and toss to mix and coat evenly. Let stand 30 minutes or refrigerate up to 4 hours.

Spoon into dessert dishes or over thin slices of angel food or pound cake, if desired.

Tip: Add 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil leaves to strawberries.

Serves 4 to 6.

Nutrition: Calories 90, Total Fat 4 grams, Cholestrol 0 mlligrams, Sodium 0 mg, Total Carbohydrate 15 g, Protein less than 1 g.

MEDITERRANEAN SHRIMP KEBABS

Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Kebabs:

  • 3/4 pound large raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 12 canned extra small artichoke hearts or artichoke heart quarters
  • 12 large pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese, optional

Combine olive oil, lemon peel, lemon juice, Greek seasoning, oregano and salt in large plastic food storage bag; flex to mix well. Add shrimp and seal; toss to coat. Marinate in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

Heat grill to medium direct heat. Meanwhile, add artichoke pieces and olives to marinade; toss to coat. Thread shrimp, artichokes and olives on 4 12-to 14-inch skewers (or place in grill basket).

Grill covered 5 to 8 minutes or until shrimp are opaque, turning once or twice. Remove to serving platter; sprinkle with feta cheese, if desired.

Variation: Substitute 3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves for shrimp. Cut chicken into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Marinate and grill as directed for shrimp.

Served 4.

Nutrition: Calories 200, total fat 8 grams, cholesterol 135 milligrams, sodium 940 mg, total carbohydrate 11 g, protein 21 g.

ORZO CUCUMBER SALAD

  • 3/4 cups orzo pasta, cooked and drained (2 cups cooked)
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup chopped orange bell pepper
  • 1 medium green onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1/3 cup pure or extra light olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Blend all ingredients in medium bowl; toss to mix. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to blend flavors.

Tip: Sprinkle coarse salt on top of salad before serving.

Serves 6.

Nutrition: Calories 180, total fat 13 grams, cholesterol 0 milligrams, sodium 200 mg, total carbohydrate 17 g, protein 2 g.

LEMON OLIVE OIL GARLIC MARINADE

  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup pure or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Blend all ingredients in large plastic food storage bag. Add 4 to 6 servings chicken, pork, fish or shellfish. Seal and toss to coat evenly. Marinate at least 4 hours or up to overnight, turning occassionally. Remove meat or seafood from marinade, discarding excess marinade. Grill or broil as usual.

Serves 4 to 6.

Nutrition: Calories 35, total fat 3.5 grams, cholestrol 0 milligrams, sodium 20 mg, total carbohydrate 2 g, Pprotein 0 g.

SUMMER HERB MARINADE

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup raspberry white wine or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped marjoram leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Blend all ingredients in large plastic food storage bag. Add 4 to 6 servings boneless beef, chicken or pork chops. Seal and toss to coat evenly. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to overnight, turning occasionally. Remove meat or seafood from marinade; discard remaining marinade. Grill as usual.

Serves 4 to 6.

Nutrition: Calories 60, total fat 7 g, cholesterol 0 mg, sodium 75 mg, total carbohydrate less than 1 g, protein 0 g.

TRIPLE PEPPER AND ONION MARINADE

  • 1/3 cup pure olive oil
  • 3 (1-inch) pieces yellow onion
  • 2 medium green onions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 poblano chili pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground mixed peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor. Place 4 to 6 servings beef, pork or chicken in large plastic food storage bag. Seal and toss to coat. Seal and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to overnight, turning occasionally. Remove meat from marinade; discard remaining marinade and grill meat as usual.

Serves 4 to 6.

Nutrition: Calories 60, total fat 5 grams, cholesterol 0 milligrams, sodium 150 mg, total carbohydrate 3 g, protein 0 g.

SIMPLE SUMER ANTIPASTO

  • 1/2 cup Greek, ripe or kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup large stuffed Spanish (green) olives
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, cut into 16 pieces
  • 1/2 cup small peeled pearl onions
  • 4 oz whole milk mozzarella cheese (see note), cut into 16 pieces (about 1 inch)
  • 4 medium mushroom caps, quartered
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin or pure olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

Combine all ingredients in large food storage bag or nonmetallic bowl. Seal and toss (or stir) to mix and coat evenly.

Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight to blend flavors, turning or stirring frequently. With slotted spoon, remove pieces and pile into bowl or onto serving platter. Serve with small toothpicks.

Serves 8 to 10.

Note: If desired, provolone or part skim, low-moisture mozzarella can be substituted for fresh mozzarella.

Nutrition: Calories 120, total fat 11 grams, cholesterol 15 milligrams, sodium 350 mg, total carbohydrate 3 g, protein 4 g.

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