The Bottom Line
- Clear, concise information about olive oil, including how to choose a good oil
- Tempting, simple yet inventive recipes
- Beautiful photography
- Excellent selection of resources
- Kind tone encourages cooks of every ability and experience
- Very few main dish recipes
- Grower profiles will seem extraneous to most readers and will date the book quickly
- A single ingredient cookbook with purpose: to teach readers about the high quality of American-grown olive oil.
- Tasting notes, flavor profiles, and tips on learning more about tasting olive oil.
- Easy, flavorful recipes run the gamut from simple appetizers to chocolate desserts - all featuring olive oil
Guide Review - The New American Olive Oil by Fran Gage
Wonderfully simple recipes populate most of the book. Classic olive oil-centric dishes like pesto and salt cod pil-pil are joined by fresh dishes like a dessert of chocolate ganache made with olive oil and served on crusty bread before being drizzled with more olive oil and anchovy crudo with lemon olive oil.
Smartly, Gage specifies whether a recipe benefits from mild, medium, or robust olive oil, but, with the exception of a few recipes that use flavored oil, recognizes even that many oils are a stretch for most people to keep around the kitchen. She understands, in short, that you may have only one bottle at hand.
Profiles of olive growers are sprinkled throughout the book. Unfortunately, Gage's clear affection for the growers and their project of creating high-quality artisanal olive oils can give the profiles a slight salesman or advertorial feel. That affection, however, is well earned and has no bearing on the fabulous recipes and solid, well researched background on olives, their oil, and how to make the most of it that form the bulk of the book.