Troy Hightower

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'09 Olive Harvest

Olio Nuovo--the new oil is in the cellar. We harvested olives this year slightly earlier than planned, due to the deep freeze on the nights of the seventh and eighth. The olives froze on the tree, and had to be picked and rushed to the mill immediately. Almost all the members of our small syndicate were in the same boat, but with a bunch of rushing around, everyone got picked and delivered olives to the Dry Creek Olive Company outside of Healdsburg, and by Thursday morning, glorious green-gold new oil was in carboys.

The oil has to settle and mellow for 2-3 months before bottling, but I always bottle up a couple of the cloudy oil for early taste tests. The oil this year seems a bit mellower than usual, which would be expected due to the slightly later than normal harvest time, and the greater overall ripeness of everyone's fruit. It still has a nice bite and kick, though.

My first taste combination of the oil this morning was fantastic--drizzled on slightly charred Levain bread from Della Fattoria, and topped with a fresh egg, poached-in-the-shell according to the technique espoused by New York chef David Chang in his new book Momofuku. It's called a 5:10 egg: put an egg in boiling water for exactly 5 minutes and 10 seconds. Immerse in cool water for a minute. Peel very carefully. Works perfectly. That perfect egg yolk, bitey oil, earthy toast combo is great.


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