The Sweet Kiss of Almond Oil...
...Anoints Citrus, Avocado, Tarragon
And pairs Perfectly with a 2004 Horse Heaven Sauvignon Blanc
Stop! Wait right there. Before you nonchalantly dismiss this post as being too simple; after all who doesn't know how to chop up a few citrus fruits and avocado and sprinkle with herbs? Please bear with me. I have some unexpected information for you: Almond Oil!
A couple of weeks ago I collaborated with Food Editor/Writer Amanda Berne to cook what I'll rather immodestly describe as a rather fantastic meal. If you look at our menu planner (we followed recipes for most things), you'll see that there was one of our eight courses we were less prepared for - the salad course: "Farmers market salad tbd."
Whilst doing our market shopping on the morning of the dinner, together we plumped for a combination of pomello, orange, lime and avocado paired with tarragon. What we didn't really think about was the dressing. Ad libbing later that evening, our brainstorm went something like this:
Amanda "I think we should use some kind of nut oil".
Sam "I only have almond".
Amanda "Great, let's use that then".
Anyone who has supremed a citrus knows that there is enough of the skin and pith left over to squeeze out a decent amount of juice, which is what we did. We simply blended the juice with a splash of almond oil (to taste) to make a dressing which we poured over the presentation of fruit and herbs.
Happy accident #1 was followed by happy accident #2. Every wine pairing for the evening had been carefully planned out but because the salad was an unknown entity we had just gambled on the fact it might pair with a Sauvignon Blanc. One of our guests had brought a 2004 Columbia Valley Horse Heaven Sauvignon Blanc to the table and its pairing with all the elements of the salad couldn't have been more stunning. Noticeably so. In fact a particularly wine-savvy guest even remarked on the fact. I lack confidence with and am a little wary of wine pairings in general, they so often don't work for me or seem a little contrived but this marvellous combination at once illustrated to me exactly what a good wine pairing is all about. All the flavours mingled together on my tongue to produce an experience that was at once creamy and bright.
So good was this salad, I have made it more than once since. And I think Amanda is rather smitten with it too.
Pomello | from Hamada Farms
Oranges/Limes | Bernard Ranches
Avocado | Wills Avocado
Other Resources & Further Reading
Almond Oil | by La Tourangelle. I love this oil and its packaging is charming but not practical. It is impossible to pour from the tin without dripping the oil into the grooves at the top. If you don't clean it up immediately then the spillage turns gooey and sticky. I spoke to Tourangelle about this problem at the Fancy Food Show. They are aware of the problem and told me they had done a lot of research into trying to fix the issue but that they had not had any success so far. It's something I am going to have to live with because all their nut oils all taste great.
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