Welcome, Spring! New Potatoes with Hojiblanca Extra Virgin Olive Oil
by Ann Weaver, May 10, 2016, In Blog
Last week, I purged the winter root vegetables from my fridge. I relegated wizened, hoary carrots, turnips, and celeriac to the compost pile and replaced them with new potatoes, spring onions, and asparagus. Seeing green at the farmer’s market is exciting, particularly when that green includes things that are not kale. Kale is fine, but kale does not say “spring” to me.
To celebrate the season, I roasted some potatoes and spring onions with olio’s Hojiblanca extra virgin olive oil. This was my first experience with this olive varietal, which I learned accounts for about 16 percent of the olive oil produced in Andalucia. Hojiblanca olives are not used for oil as commonly as other varieties because they are difficult to harvest and have a low oil yield. This means they have firm flesh and are excellent for eating as table olives, but they do not produce as much oil as other varieties when pressed. So, this is a special oil. I didn’t realize how special until I had already enjoyed it!
I roast a lot of vegetables, and the flavor this olive oil imparted was very different from others I’ve used. It’s fruitier and greener, with a smell like fresh spring vegetation and new growth. The green, fruity smell and initial flavor give way to a lasting nutty almond taste. Because the olive oil was so flavorful, I added minimal seasonings—just some fresh parsley, sea salt, and fresh ground black pepper.
To roast the potatoes and onions, I chopped them into pieces between about 1.5 inches across, put them in a casserole dish (any pan works; for really large batches I use a turkey roasting pan), drizzle on olive oil, and stir them to coat. Don’t go overboard with the oil—you want everything coated, but you don’t want excess oil. Then, I add the seasonings and stir again, adding more seasonings to taste. I roast the veggies at 425 degrees for between 30 and 45 minutes, stirring once or twice, until they’re tender and looking brown around the edges.
Hojiblanca olive oil has expanded my horizons for cooking veggies! I’m excited to try it in other aspects of cooking and baking—breads, salad dressing, and marinades, for starters!