Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Sweet Kiss of Almond Oil...

...Anoints Citrus, Avocado, Tarragon

picture photograph recipe how to make 3 citrus salad with tarragon avocado and almond oil 2007 copyright of sam breach
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.

Local Resources
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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The Sweet Kiss of Almond Oil...


  • At 21/2/07 09:36, Blogger ChrisB said…

    Sam that is a beautiful photo and glad your 'happy accident' was so successful

  • At 21/2/07 12:13, Blogger Linda said…

    this looks so amazing! just looking at the plate makes me crave a glass of wine!

  • At 21/2/07 14:39, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was delighted to see your name in Amanda's article this morning, and I must say - your picture looks far better than the one in the Chronicle. Rock on!

  • At 21/2/07 16:47, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Your picture IS quite beautiful. Will you make that for me? I have pomelos at home.

  • At 21/2/07 19:32, Blogger Tea said…

    I logged on to say your photo is nicer than the Chron--but Jennifer beat me to it! Nicely done, my dear.

  • At 21/2/07 22:46, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sam, that's an intriguing combination. I never would have imagined almond oil with avocado and citrus, but your enthusiasm has me convinced. Out of curiosity, what ratio of oil to acid did you use in your dressing? Is it really just a splash?

  • At 22/2/07 04:31, Blogger Susan from Food Blogga said…

    You illustrate perfectly that by using flavorful high quality ingredients, you don't need to dress them up much. Lovely photo.

  • At 22/2/07 06:52, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great photo! Thanks for sharing!

  • At 22/2/07 10:41, Blogger Catherine said…

    Sam, beautiful dish. Inspiration for a pretty breakfast dish.

  • At 22/2/07 11:11, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    When I saw your mention of 'La Tourangelle' it piqued my curiosity and sure enough there is a French Connection there.


  • At 22/2/07 12:19, Blogger Chubbypanda said…

    I would hardly describe that arrangement as chopping and arranging. Instead, I'd probably use phrases like, "Oooh! Pweddy!" Very attractive.

  • At 22/2/07 13:13, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Simplicity can be beautfiul, as this gorgeous salad demonstrates. It looks fresh and mouthwatering, the perfect counterpoint to whatever follows it. And the presentation is stunning.

  • At 23/2/07 00:33, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've been dreaming of your last two posts. I am so happy that you have been active in the kitchen, just as you vowed you would be when making your New Year's resolutions! And it appears that you'll be adding a new cookbook to your extensive collection--a new one by a wonderful author named Sam Breach! At the prolific rate you are going (in cooking and posting), I'm sure publishers will be hounding you down!

  • At 23/2/07 15:19, Blogger Sarah said…

    Hi Sam,
    Wow your picture looks absolutly delicous and refreshing. I never would of thought of adding almond oil with citrus and avocado either but I am going to try. I think the presentation of this is so gorgeous. Great Job!


  • At 24/2/07 08:57, Blogger Sam said…

    mum - maybe you should try it or do I remember you are not meant to eat citrus?

    sher - it's a great combination - you should try it.

    linda - I never intended my picture to start someone drinking ;)

    jennifer - it was cool of Amanda to give me the name check. I was intending to post this post a week ago and literally, just before I was about to publish it she told me she'd put the salad in her inaugural article. Then I didn't want to scoop her so I put it on hold until the article was published on the CHron. I didn't mean to upstage their photo, but can't be helped.

    Amanda - anytime lovie- just give me the call.

    tea - thank you - I didn't see their picture, I wasn't trying to better them - this picture was taken even before I knew Amanda would be featuring the salad.

    Scott - I don't get this - which browser are you using? I have checked in IE and firefox and it loos fine on my end. I can't check safari as I don't have a mac. Thanks for letting me know.

    Rob - if you click on the link to AManda's recipe - she has done all the boring hard work and specified exact amounts. Myself - I literally put in a splash ( I am only making myself one portion at a time). Plus those Tourangelle oils - they are a bit awkward and it is hard to create a small splash with them, so I would add that it is a generous splash.

    susan - that's the beauty of living in CA with its great farmer's markets.

    maria - thanks

    chubbypanda - *blush*, well it wasn't really difficult, it didn't take too long. It can't harm that I have artistic ttendancies.

    terryb - you are right - that salad has everything it needs - nothing too complicated and satisfying results.

    passionate eater - no publishers, no anyone hounding me down whatsoever, which is just as well as I wouldn't have the time to wrote a book anyway.

    catherine - breakfast, lunch, ANY time!

    Serge - true indeed - their oils are great - I tried some of their new ones at the fancy food show but I have had this almon ne in my cupbaord for a while.

    sarah - i hoe you find the combination as alluring and unique as we did


  • At 25/2/07 20:53, Blogger Unknown said…

    You know, I think Elise did this once (minus the almond oil and terragon) and have been eager to try it. I'll take your advice and give this a shot! Thanks so much!

  • At 31/5/07 15:31, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Because of this post I was curious to try the Horse Heaven Sauv Blanc. What a delight!! Great price, great wine, great food and great company! Since then, this has become a staple in our wine cellar and we are also really impressed with their Chardonnay and Riesling. If you haven't tried it, make sure you do. Thank you so much for the find!!!

  • At 1/6/07 20:14, Blogger Sam said…

    thanks for the feedback - I'll have to try their other wines. I am so glad it worked out for you.


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