Olive Oil Blog

Sierra Is Number One in World Olive Oil Ranking

The New York Olive Oil Competition recently compiled results from its decade-long worldwide olive oil competition. Sierra emerged tied for first as the most awarded brand globally, while Mistral secured the seventh position. Apollo Olive Oil was recognized as the 17th most awarded producer. Over the past ten years, the competition received between 700 and 900 submissions annually from around the world. For detailed results, visit https://oliveoilranking.org/

The ULTIMATE Vegetarian Meatball Sub

From Albert Bevia:
This Vegetarian Meatball Sub is the ULTIMATE vegetarian sandwich. It’s packed with flavors, made with heart-healthy ingredients and promises to fill your body with so much goodness. Serve it next to a garden salad and a bottle of Spanish wine for a delicious meal.

TIPS & TRICKS to make this Recipe: Important to squeeze the meatball mixture in your hands before shaping the meatballs. This will ensure that all the ingredients are well binded together, so the meatballs don’t fall apart when cooking.

The ULTIMATE Vegetarian Meatball Sub

Watch Albert preparing this recipe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zn8JcTfMUwc

Ingredients

FOR THE VEGETARIAN MEATBALLS

  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) 15.5 oz / 440 grams
  • 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs 40 grams
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • 1 small carrot (peeled)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley 8 grams
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin 1.5 grams
  • sea salt & black pepper

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika 2.50 grams
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme .50 grams
  • 1 can tomato sauce (passata) 15 oz / 425 grams
  • sea salt & black pepper

EXTRAS

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 60 ml
  • 2 bread rolls
  • grated cheese
  • chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Drain the canned chickpeas into a colander and rinse under water, then shake off any excess water and transfer the chickpeas into a large bowl, using a potato masher or a large fork, push down on the chickpeas until they’re well mashed
  2. Once the chickpeas are mashed, add in the bread crumbs, crack in the egg, add in the shallot and garlic, finely grate in the carrot, add in the parsley, cumin and season with sea salt & black pepper, mix together, once well mixed, push down on the mixture until you get a paste-like texture
  3. To shape the meatballs, grab a large spoonful of the mixture and squeeze it in your hands, then shape into a ball, a little bigger than a golf ball
  4. Heat a large fry pan with a medium heat and add in the olive oil
  5. After a couple of minutes add in the chickpea meatballs, all in a single layer, fry for 7 to 8 minutes or until golden fried all around, then remove from the pan and set aside
  6. Using the same pan with the same heat make the tomato sauce, add in the minced garlic and mix continuously, after 15 seconds and the garlic is fragrant, add in the paprika and thyme, quickly mix together, then add in the canned tomato sauce and season with sea salt & black pepper, mix together, then add the chickpea meatballs back into the pan, gently flip each one so they’re coated in the sauce, lower the fire to a low heat
  7. In the meantime, cut the bread rolls in half lengthwise, without cutting them all the way through, add into a preheated oven for a few minutes so they lightly toast
  8. After simmering the chickpea meatballs for about 5 minutes and the tomato sauce has slightly thickened, remove the pan from the heat
  9. Add the chickpea meatballs into the bread rolls, top off with the tomato sauce, then add in some grated cheese and sprinkle with chopped parsley, enjoy!

Spanish-Style Crispy Artichoke Bites with Aioli

From Albert Bevia:
For the artichokes, I used a can of artichoke hearts in water. You can also use marinated artichoke hearts. Either way, make sure to drain them well and pat them completely dry. This way they can absorb all the flavors and end up with a light crispy texture.

TIPS & TRICKS to make this Recipe: You can prep the artichokes beforehand and add them to the fridge. They will hold for up to 3 days. Then just fry as stated in the recipe below. You can serve them warm or even at room temperature.

Spanish-Style Crispy Artichoke Bites with Aioli

Watch Albert preparing this recipe:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKJaanVlA98

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil 120 ml
  • 1 can artichoke hearts 14 oz / 400 grams
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour 40 grams
  • 1/2 tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika 1.25 grams
  • 2 cage-free organic eggs
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley 4 grams
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs 70 grams
  • 1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise 120 grams
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 15 ml
  • sea salt & black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat a large fry pan with a medium heat and add in the sunflower oil
  2. In the meantime, drain the can of artichokes, place the artichokes over some paper towels, all in a single layer, gently pat dry, then cut each one in half lengthwise, add the artichokes cut side down over some paper towels
  3. Crack the eggs into a bowl, add in the parsley and season with sea salt & black pepper, whisk together, add the flour into a seperate bowl, add in the paprika and mix together, add the bread crumbs into a third seperate bowl
  4. Coat each piece of artichoke, first in the flour, then the egg wash and finaly into the bread crumbs
  5. Add the coated pieces of artichoke into the fry pan with the hot oil, all in a single layer, fry for 2 minutes per side or until golden fried all around, transfer into a dish with paper towels
  6. To make the aioli, add the mayonnaise into a bowl, finely grate in the garlic, finely grate in the zest of half a lemon, add in 1 tsp (5 ml) lemon juice and 1 tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil, season with a kiss of sea salt & black pepper, whisk together until you get a creamy sauce
  7. Transfer the aioli into a serving dish and decorate the pieces of fried artichoke around it, garnish with lemon wedges and parsley, enjoy!

Rice Fritters

From Albert Bevia:

These Spanish-Style Rice Fritters, known as Buñuelos de Arroz, are what simple comfort food is all about. We’re talking a light crispy texture on the outside with an incredible flavor in the inside, easy to make and done in just 30 minutes. But the best part? They’re made using leftover rice.

TIPS & TRICKS to Make this Recipe: Make sure to cook the fritters on a medium heat and nothing higher. Otherwise, they will brown too quickly on the outside and not fully cook in the inside. You can make the batter ahead of time. It will hold for up to 3 days in the fridge.

To see Albert making this recipe go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9_ne6VeGNE

Ingredients

FOR THE RICE FRITTERS

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour 60 grams
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup club soda 90 ml
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small carrot
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley 8 grams
  • 1/2 tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika 1.25 grams
  • 1 cup leftover cooked white rice 190 grams
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese 60 grams
  • sea salt & black pepper

FOR THE AIOLI

  • 2 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads .17 grams
  • 1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise 120 grams
  • 1 tsp lemon juice 5 ml
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 15 ml
  • sea salt & black pepper

EXTRAS

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 90 ml
  • fresh parsley

Instructions

TO MAKE THE RICE FRITTERS

  1. Add the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the middle, crack in the egg and whisk the egg, then add in the club soda and whisk everything together until you get a creamy batter, then add in the onion finely chopped, finely grate in the garlic, finely grate in the carrot (peeled), add in the chopped parsley, sweet smoked Spanish paprika and season with sea salt & black pepper, mix together
  2. Add in the cooked rice and grated cheese, give it one final mix until well mixed together
  3. Heat a large fry pan with a medium heat and add in the olive oil
  4. After a couple of minutes start adding in spoonfuls of the batter, all evenly spaced out and in a single layer, cook in batches, fry the fritters for 3 minutes per side or until golden fried, as you finish each batch, transfer the fritters into a dish with paper towels

TO MAKE THE AIOLI

  1. Add in the cloves of garlic roughly chopped into a mortar, along with the saffron and a pinch of sea salt, using a pestle pound down on the ingredients until you get a paste-like texture, then add in the mayonnaise, lemon juice, olive oil and season with sea salt & black pepper, whisk together until you get a creamy texture

TO ASSEMBLE

  1. Transfer the aioli into a small bowl and place over a serving dish, decorate the fritters around it and garnish with fresh parsley, enjoy!

Scrambled Eggs with Beans, known as Revuelto con Alubias Blancas

From Albert Brevia:

These Scrambled Eggs with Beans, known as Revuelto con Alubias Blancas, are possibly one of the most underrated dishes ever. We’re talking a ton of great flavors, seriously easy to make and all done in just 20 minutes. Serve them for breakfast or even for dinner, and always next to some Catalan Tomato Bread.

TIPS & TRICKS to Make this Recipe:A great scramble takes no more than 2 to 3 minutes to cook on a medium heat. If you overcook the eggs, they will end up with a rubbery texture. Make sure to use a nonstick fry pan. So the eggs don’t stick to the surface while cooking.

Scrambled Eggs with Beans, known as Revuelto con Alubias Blancas

Watch Albert preparing this recipe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jK9MfB8C1xY

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 30 ml
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • 1 can white beans 15.5 oz / 440 grams
  • 1/2 tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika 1.25 grams
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin 1 gram
  • 6 cage-free organic eggs
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley 8 grams
  • 1/4 cup water 60 ml
  • 2 tbsp grated Manchego cheese 15 grams
  • sea salt & black pepper

Instructions

  1. Crack the eggs into a bowl, add in the chopped parsley and season with sea salt & black pepper, whisk together, then add in the water and give it one final whisk
  2. Drain the can of white beans into a colander and rinse the beans under water, finely chop the onion, roughly chop the garlic and finely chop the red bell pepper
  3. Heat a nonstick fry pan with a medium heat and add in the olive oil
  4. After a couple of minutes add in the chopped vegetables, mix continuously, once the vegetables are lightly sauteed, about 4 minutes, add in the drained white beans, sweet smoked paprika, ground cumin and season with sea salt & black pepper, quickly mix together, then add in the whisked eggs, let them sit for 30 to 60 seconds without mixing, then mix continuously and go for 1 to 2 minutes or until the eggs are just cooked through, then remove from the heat
  5. Transfer into serving dishes and top off with the grated cheese, enjoy!

Polyphenols Lower Insulin Resistance

Polyphenols Lower Insulin Resistance
A forthcoming study set to be published in 2024 by principal researcher, Enzo Nisoli, obesity researcher at University of Milan, has delved into how polyphenols present in extra virgin olive oil influence the molecular and cellular mechanisms linked to cardiometabolic disease and obesity. While past research demonstrated polyphenols’ ability to mitigate health issues related to chronic inflammatory diseases, the specific biological mechanism behind these results remained unidentified. The study aimed to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms responsible for the positive effects of olive oil. 

The research involved a diet study with mice, examining the impacts of different components of olive oil. The results indicated that polyphenols, especially in extra virgin olive oil, play a significant role in reducing glycemia, insulin resistance, inflammation, and oxidative stress. The study emphasizes the potential health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, particularly through the consumption of extra virgin olive oil. However, researchers acknowledge the need for further investigation into the impact of olive oil and polyphenols on gut microbiota and other molecular mechanisms in humans.

Catalan-Style Spinach (Espinacas a la Catalana)

TIPS & TRICKS to Make this Recipe: As you sauté the spinach, make sure to mix it around continuously, this will ensure the spinach easily wilts. Also, make sure to add the spinach into the pan in batches, so you don´t overcrowd the pan.

Catalan-Style Spinach (Espinacas a la Catalana)

Watch Albert preparing this recipe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkUrehMSuew&t=7s

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 30 ml
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup raisins 50 grams
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts 35 grams
  • 15 oz fresh bagged spinach 450 grams
  • pinch sea salt
  • dash black pepper

Instructions

  1. Soak the raisins in warm water for 5 minutes, then drain and shake off any excess water, finely mince the garlic
  2. Heat a large fry pan with a medium heat and add in the pine nuts, mix continuously, after 4 to 5 minutes and the pine nuts are lightly roasted, remove from the pan and set aside
  3. Using the same pan with the same heat, add in the olive oil and minced garlic, mix continuously, after 20 to 30 seconds and the garlic is fragrant, start adding the spinach and mixing it around so it easily wilts, I like to add it in batches so it doesn´t overcrowd the pan
  4. Once all the spinach has been added and it´s lightly wilted, add in the reserved pine nuts, drained raisins and season with sea salt & black pepper, mix together until well mixed, then remove from the heat
  5. Transfer into a large serving dish, serve warm or at room temperature, enjoy!