Archive for September, 2011
Olio Nuovo Meets Toast- Fettunta
There is nothing simpler than toast… or as the Italians lovingly call it, Fettunta. And there is no more direct way to savor the flavors and aromas of a good extra-virgin olive oil- especially the Olio Nuovo.
Olio Nuovo, or “new” oil is just that- the olives are picked, sorted, placed in brine, and pressed. That’s it- just as soon as it has been pressed it is Olio Nuovo.
What is so great about Olio Nuovo? Olio Nuovo is the air, gray spring rain, new green shoots, the summer, the long slanted rays of a late day in the fall, hay, grass, and stone all in one bottle. On a practical level the Olio Nuovo is piquant- peppery, actually. It has a bit of a bite; This is just the start of your addiction.
To make a proper Fettunta, you’ll need:
- Slices of good white peasant or “Italian” bread.
- 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic. (This really needs to be fresh)
- Coarse salt
- Newly pressed extra-virgin olive oil (ahem… think Bosca…)
- Slice your bread in thick pieces- about 1/3 to ½ inches thick.
- Toast the bread lightly. Many recipes say to “toast to a golden brown” etc. Admittedly “golden brown” sounds good- especially for breakfast in my experience, however, Fettunta is lightly toasted.
The toasting is best done over a wood fire if possible. Here is a case where the wood fire really does impart a detectable flavor. Plus it is fun if you can do it. Don’t let it stop you if you don’t have a wood fire though- use the broiler. Set the rack about 6-8 inches from the heat source so that the toasting occurs gently.
- Rub one (toasted) side thoroughly with garlic.
- Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt. After that… my advice is to simply enjoy the fragrance of this food as much as the taste in your mouth. It can make your senses swirl and dance. Really. Bread, garlic, oil, and salt. That’s it.
SPECIAL NOTES: If you are toasting the bread in the broiler toast both sides of the bread lightly and remove. If you are toasting over a wood fire toast one side, rub this side with garlic and oil, then toast the other side. This accomplishes heating the garlic and oil slightly.
The taste of all olive oil varies greatly depending on its origin. Tuscany is famously one of the best regions in all the world. Oil from this region has a distinctive and strong taste, which is even more pronounced when the oil is new. The strong tastes of Olio Nuovo all mellow and soften with time. After about three months the oil is no longer “Olio Nuovo.”
I have not read this in any other book, but I always put the toast back on the heat very briefly. Here I have to emphasize that this needs to be very quick. I like for the heat to just activate the aroma of the garlic and shift it from a purely fresh and vegetal taste to a taste that hints of having been cooked.
From My Kitchen to Your Office
It was Salsa Verde night at my summer home in Northern Michigan a few weeks ago. This time, it was to go over some freshly caught lake salmon, cooked over the grill. Turned out fantastic… but that is a topic for another blog entry.
What struck me as I was chopping up the parsley was the uniqueness of my new cutting board. I had been originally been drawn to this board for its’ unique aesthetics… but what sealed the deal for me was the tag informing me that this cutting board was engineered from 100% recycled materials, including a by product from the paper industry that looks like confetti in the material. I thought this was very cool.
So here I was, cutting away… very happy with my purchase when that creative light bulb went off. What if we used scrap leather from our manufacturing process to create a new line??!! Not only could it look super sharp but we would be using more of our raw materials.
A few calls to our friends in Italy put me in touch with a great company that utilizes scrap from Italian vegetable-tanned leather. The scrap is bound together and rolled into smooth sheets.
Back to my creative director and her awesome genius- desk sets with an eco-friendly bias for office work. We’re in the testing stage now. So far so good. It is a great writing surface, but it is always asking for another espresso.
Autumn, Ohio, & Oak Street
Most of the world uses the Roman calendar… (Yea- let’s hear it for the Italians again!) Around the office at Bosca Accessories, however, we kind of have our own calendar.
Just the other day, we were sitting around talking about how it seems that during the summer we all tend to go off on our own a bit more, wander, and coast a bit more. The end of summer just feels like the close of another year. And with the arrival of autumn, we seem to fall into new more energetic patterns…and the beginning of our Bosca Year.
The beginning of this year has started out with a major change for the Creative Team. We’ve closed the doors of our much-loved office on Marconi Blvd in Columbus, Ohio. Although a little sad, we are sooooo excited to be moving into our new building on Oak Street in the near future. (Crossing fingers on the “near” part).
Usually golden reds come with the autumn season and the dusting of white comes with winter…but I am almost positive that the City Building department may present me a heavy dose of white (hair) early.
But the end is in sight, and soon we will be moving in!!
The building is really cool. It was originally built in 1876 and has changed hands and purposes throughout the years. It definitely is/was in need of a bit of love but I knew with a bit of tender attention and renovation, it would make a fantastic creative space.
We’ve picked out some fabulous reclaimed materials too- like the 100+ year old oak flooring. These planks are planed from old Ohio barns that are beyond repair.
We can’t wait to get into our new space, spread out all of our swatches, samples, prints, drawings, cuttings, clippings. We haven’t even moved in and it’s already a happy, creative mess.