I’m a big fan of Joyce Goldstein. And the award-winning chef and cookbook author is a big fan of extra virgin olive oil.
She used lots of EVOO when she demonstrated Italian dishes at a healthy cooking conference in California.
“Olive oil is good for you,” Joyce told the audience as she liberally poured some into a pan. “I’m one of those people who throws (rather than pours) the olive oil into the pan.”
One meal she prepared that evening combined pasta, clams, chickpeas, greens and hot pepper.
Joyce — the former chef-owner of the pioneering Mediterranean restaurant, Square One, in San Francisco — said the chickpeas provide “chew,” the greens some fragrance, and the hot pepper “a little heat.”
The dish’s name includes the Italian term “in zemino,” a style of preparation that uses tomatoes, chards or spinach. It’s considered Tuscan, although the term’s actual origins are a bit murky.
Joyce boiled the greens — you can use chard, spinach, beet greens or escarole — in salt water to soften them. In a separate pan she sautéed garlic and hot pepper flakes briefly in plenty of EVOO.
“Flavor first. That’s the motto of the Mediterranean,” explained Joyce, just before adding tomatoes, the chickpeas and the greens.
Different shellfish can be used for this dish: scallops, prawns, squid, or clams. Cooks in Tuscany, for example, use squid. Joyce opted for clams, explaining there was no need to add salt to the pan. “Clams are naturally salty. They do the job.”
As the clams steamed, Joyce would occasionally lift the top of the pot and tap them with a large spoon to get them to open. And when everything was ready, she tossed it all with pasta.
Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch