Summer Recipes with Citizens of Soil

August 11, 2021

When it comes to wine, one of the characteristics you can look at is the ‘terroir’. This French term refers to the impact that the earth, soil, climate and growing environment can have on how a wine tastes. Put simply, the same grape variety planted in different vineyards even a few hundred metres away can end up being a very different wine.

Terroir

‘Terroir’ isn’t something that only applies to wine, however. As extra virgin olive oil brand, Citizens of Soil, put it: “We tried olive oils even from the same family but from different groves and they just weren’t the same. Terroir is that intangible, yet very real sense of place that explains why this tastes a particular way, while the same product from another region or even hillside tastes different.”  

Wine and Olive Oil

Like Sarah and Michael of Citizens of Soil, learning about how produce is made is important to us. And like us, Sarah and Michael are passionate about discovering new wines, and ways to pair wine with food that fits with the time of year and environment the food comes from.

We’ve worked with Citizens of Soil to put together a menu of dishes that you can try out and enjoy this summer, with wine recommendations from Isabelle, our head of wine. The ingredients used should be stocked at a supermarket or food store of your choice, with Citizens of Soil extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and our selected wines linked below.

Summer Recipes

Photo courtesy of Citizens of Soil

Fresh Sea Bream on Toast

Sea bream is a quintessential Mediterranean summer dish. Serve on toast with finely chopped fresh tomatoes for an afternoon snack. Be generous with the olive oil here - the method specifies coating everything with a sheen; a culinary way to transport yourself to the glimmering shores of Greece. The apple-y flavours of Citizens of Soil olive oil will also complement the fish here.

Ingredients
  • Sea bream
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Bread of your choice
  • Basil
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Citizens of Soil Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Method
  1. ‘Cure’ the raw fish by covering coarse salt and letting it sit coated for half an hour.
  2. Chop the fish and the tomatoes into small pieces.
  3. Mix together in a bowl with enough olive oil to coat everything with a sheen.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Toast the slices of bread.
  6. Cut garlic clove in half and rub it on the toast.
  7. Top the toast with the sea bream and tomato mix.

Pair with: something light and fresh to complement the fish - you don’t want to overpower the delicacy of the sea bream here. For that reason, try a riesling or a sauvignon blanc like Wild Sauvignon, Greywacke, 2020 (£21)


Photo courtesy of Citizens of Soil

Asparagus with Ajo Blanco

Ajo blanco is a garlic and almond soup served cold that predates the tomato-based gazpacho. This is a light dish that should bring out the gentle fattiness of the almonds, complemented by the garlic. The delicate bitterness of the asparagus works excellently with ajo blanco, and will match the artichoke, green apple-y flavours in the olive oil.  

Ingredients
  • Asparagus
  • 1 cup blanched Marcona almonds (pre-soaked overnight in water, strained)
  • 2 slices of white bread (toasted or set out overnight to dry out)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 teaspoons of sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • Citizens of Soil Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt
Method
  1. Put the bread in the blender with the cold water and vinegar, then add the almonds (strained) and garlic.
  2. Pulse in the blender to smooth it out.
  3. Slowly add in the EVOO (¼ cup).
  4. Add in salt and vinegar to taste. Set aside.
  5. Add two tablespoons of EVOO to a heated pan.
  6. Sauté the asparagus for 5-10 mins on medium heat.
  7. Remove from pan and dress on a plate with a heavy pour of the ajo blanco, topped with the asparagus and EVOO and sea salt.

Pair with: something that will carry the delicate taste of the asparagus and the creaminess of the ajo blanco. Choose something that has a really green, herbaceous flavour like the asparagus like Grüner Veltliner, Helmut Bernthaler, 2020 (£16)

Photo courtesy of Citizens of Soil

Roasted Corn with Feta

The sweet, juiciness of corn makes for an ideal summer dish. Paired here with crumbled feta, it adds a welcome creaminess - with just a hint of pepperiness from the olive oil. Tangy feta cheese also brings out the earthiness in the roasted corn, so there’s a lot of flavours to really sink your teeth into.

Ingredients
  • Corn on the cob
  • Feta cheese
  • Paprika
  • Nutritional yeast flakes (optional, but makes it delicious!)
  • Citizens of Soil Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt
Method
  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas.
  2. Cover corn in Citizens of Soil Extra Virgin Olive Oil and place in baking dish.
  3. Crumble small mounds of feta on top, then sprinkle nutritional yeast flakes.
  4. Sprinkle paprika and sea salt.
  5. Bake for 30-35 mins or until tender (you can also do this with pre-boiled corn and then it only takes like 5 minutes in the oven).

Pair with: a high acidity wine works well with traditional Feta cheese (100% sheep’s cheese) because it’s softer than goat’s cheese but still high in acidity too. Go for something citrusy and fennel-y like La Cabra Y El Monte, Arrocal, 2020 (£16.50)

Photo courtesy of Citizens of Soil

Summer Peach Salad

As we enter the late summer period, peaches really come into their own for a short period of time. A peach salad with a creamy cheese, like ricotta, really brings out that delicate sweetness of this summer stone fruit. Balance out that sweetness, however, with a touch of bitter by adding rocket, lemon zest and the peppery hints from the olive oil from Citizens of Soil.

Ingredients
  • Tomatoes (grape or cherry)
  • Rocket
  • Peaches
  • Ricotta (mozzarella would work as well),
  • Basil
  • Lemon zest (optional if you like it)
  • Citizens of Soil Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Method
  1. Cut the tomatoes in half.
  2. Cut the peach, in half, remove the core and slice in thick wedges.
  3. Put in a bowl and mix with the cheese (cut into chunks or pulled apart, depending on consistency) and rocket.
  4. Add in the zest of half a lemon.
  5. Mix in Citizens of Soil Extra Virgin Olive oil to coast everything.
  6. Top with fresh basil leaves.

Pair with: something that will complement the peaches, but not necessarily something with a peachy flavour. Choose something that has a little sweetness to it, but enough dryness or acidity to keep it balanced, like Les Cigogneaux, Jean-Luc Westphal, 2018 (£14.75)

Photo courtesy of Citizens of Soil

About EVOO

Citizens of Soil make extra virgin olive oil using olive groves owned by the Amargiotakis family in the village of Dafnes in Crete, Greece. Wife and husband duo, Maria and Dimitris, harvest olives from their Lianolia olive trees, before milling these to extract the olive oil at a mill owned by Dimitris’ family in Loures, Crete.

The oil also goes through a series of processes to separate the skins, pits and other bits out (‘centrifuge’), and ‘polished’ to remove any excess water. To be classed as extra virgin olive oil and guarantee quality, the temperatures during the process never exceeds 27ºC.

Afterwards, the oil is shipped in air-tight containers to the UK, where it’s bottled, packaged and sold by Michael and Sarah. By bottling the oil once it's arrived in the UK, Sarah and Michael are working to reduce the environmental impact of transporting glass. 1% of all sales are also given to 1% of the Planet, which works on soil regeneration projects. You can find more out about them here.

Want to learn more about food pairing, terroir, and wines?

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