I was under the impression I was a hipster. I’m hip, right? But then I had to actually look up the term “hipster,” and I realized that, alone, makes me not a hipster.
Turns out, a hipster is someone who is young (check), typically urban (it’s a stretch… but I’ll give myself a check), and rejects mainstream culture, fashion, and music.
I like Hawaii 5-0, mini-skirts, and Ke$ha, so I guess I’m not a hipster. *sigh*
But this totally does not mean I can’t hang out with other hipsters and assimilate into their sub-culture once in a while! Especially when it involves something as chic as tasting olive oil. Wine tasting is awesome, but I guess it’s too passe. Now, one talks about the fruitiness, fullness, and bouquet of artisan olive oil rather than pinot noir. I can totally get behind this trend.
Thus, my neighbors and I took our hipster-for-the-night selves to a new bar in Knoxville, The Public House, for an olive oil tasting. With its concrete bar, minimalist decor, bare-but-funky essentials bar nibbles, and dread-sporting bartenders, it’s the new hipster place to hang out. And the perfect place to host an olive oil tasting.
One bonus reason for going is that two of the three featured olive oils were from my favorite Knoxville import company, Avanti Savoia. To the left is a photo of the tasting platter, which was the special offering of the evening. The one in the middle is Avanti’s Cassini Gran Cru Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which was my favorite. Gorgeous taste, very fruity. It’s also most people’s favorite per the owner, so I guess that seals my fate as a non-hipster. The one on the far right is their Marcinase Fruttato Intenso Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which will put some hair on your chest for sure. Very pungent, very peppery, very delicious! I learned that the color of olive oil does not correlate to taste– I was shocked! My whole olive oil world came crashing down around me! These are both so light in color, but have such a deep flavor. I washed everything down with a nice tempranillo wine, which was one of the recommended pairings. Such a lovely evening, and I will totally go back with the Booze Hound and try out their little bar bites. Maybe I’ll wear white denim and a banana clip– neither of which are popular, and would catapult me to hipster status for sure.
Now, I love olive oil as much as the next hound, but I need mass quantities for my everyday kitchen adventures. I need the 3-litre jug o’ oil because it goes in everything. And getting either of the oils above in mass quantity would not exactly be cost-effective. Besides, the intense, fruity flavors of these babies would be lost in a soup, stew, or saute dish. They need to be used in a dish that truly highlights their flavors, as a finisher, or as a simple appetizer with bread and olives, as above.
In honor of these two fabulous olive oils, I made one of my favorite recipes involving olive oil. It comes courtesy of one of my favorite people,
Nigella Lawson. She takes
canned beans, warms them in copious amounts of lemon-and-garlic-infused oil, then smashes them. It’s really just that simple, and it’s tres tres fabulous. I added the feta on top, which makes them even richer and more fabulous. I usually serve these with salmon or steak, or you could insert them into any meal where you would usually serve mashed potatoes.
Hipster or not, treat yourself to a bottle of really good olive oil, and make this dish. And if you live in Knoxville, check out The Public House. When you see someone in white denim and a banana clip discussing character development in film noir, come on over and say hello- that will be hipster moi!
Lemon-Garlic Smashed White Beans with Feta
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
1/4 c olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
3 14-oz cans of Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
4 T feta cheese
Heat olive oil, garlic, and lemon zest over medium-low heat, until warm (the garlic will probably start to make a hissing sound– it’s not mad, it just means it’s perfect). Add the beans, and squish with a potato masher until they are roughly smashed, but not completely pureed. Season with salt to taste. You can either stir the feta into the pot, or top each serving with feta. Your choice– either way is fabulous.