As you step into Oliveto, the exciting new shop at West Village, you are in Italy once again or maybe even there for the first time. Your eyes are immediately drawn to the rows of shining silver, Italian designed, olive oil and balsamic vinegar vessels.
When I inquired as to whether the shop was a franchise, owner Elizabeth Merian, told me the story of Oliveto. Elizabeth was vacationing in new England and walked into an olive oil shop in Maine. She was instantly in love with the old world charm and wanted to fashion her own style of magic here in Roanoke. She succeeded in her creation of Oliveto because magical it is.
Elizabeth provides small containers for you to taste the pungent oils. Let your imagination soar as you read the names of these oils. White Truffle Oil, Porcini Mushroom, Japanese Toasted Sesame, Organic Persian Lime. For the vinegars: Coconut, Honey- Ginger, Alfoos Mango, Blenheim Apricot. Just to name a few.
I could not stop thinking of all the ways in which the large array of Italian staples could be used. With oils in hand, I rushed from Oliveto and came home to create a salad that was greatly enhanced with the oils I purchased.
1 lb green beans
6 cups salad greens
2 T. pine nuts-lightly toasted
6 whole garlic bulbs-roasted
5T. Oliveto aged balsamic vinegar (aged in oak barrel for 18 years!)
4T. lime juice
4T. basil, chopped
Cook green beans until tender. Refresh under cold water and drain. Preheat oven to 350. Heat about a tablespoon of the garlic olive oil in heavy skillet. Add garlic cloves and sauté for 8 minutes. Cover skillet with lid and transfer to oven and bake till cloves are tender, about 10 minutes. Alternately, if you own a garlic roaster, just pop them into it and roast. Garlic and dressing can be prepared one day ahead and refrigerated. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar and lime. Pour over salad with other ingredients. This salad not only looks delicious but the taste is divine. I plan to experiment with other oils and vinegars from Oliveto.