What's Tasty at Sigona's Farmers Market

July 3, 2012

Sigona’s Fresh Press Olive Oil of the Month: July 2012

Sigona’s Fresh Press Olive Oil of the Month: July 2012

July means sunny skies, celebrating our independence on the 4th and summer barbeques with friends and family. And what barbeque would be complete without a piece of mouth-watering, extra-virgin-olive-oil drizzled bread adorning your plate?

That’s why we’re excited to let you know that our fresh pressed extra virgin olive oils from the southern hemisphere have just arrived in the store. The first oil we’re going to feature is Empeltre from Chile. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to drink a salad, taste a sample the next time you’re in the store – just be careful of that peppery goodness on the back end.

Sigona’s July 2012 Olive Oil of the Month

Empeltre (from Chile)

This oil:

  • Is like eating a salad
  • Boast notes of celery, fresh lettuce and additional vegetables
  • Delivers a jolt of throat-closing pepper on the back end
  • Packs a robust polyphenol count of 398

Try this recipe from Veronica Foods

Super Robust Olio Nuovo Empeltre EVOO Focaccia with Rosemary & Caramelized Shallots


  • 5 cups all purpose, unbleached flour
  • 2 cups lukewarm water; filtered if possible
  • 1 cup cooled, unseasoned, mashed russet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup + 1/3 cup + more for drizzling of Sigona’s fresh pressed Empeltre EVOO
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 medium shallots thinly sliced
  • 1 package active dried yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves rough chopped
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Sea salt to taste


If making the dough in your bread machine, follow its instructions for the order of adding ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar and yeast. Allow the yeast to bloom for about 5 minutes. Add 1/3 cup of olive oil, mashed potatoes and sea salt. Mix to combine.

breadWith the mixer running on the lowest speed, begin to add the flour, cup by cup, until the dough has come together and becomes elastic and just slightly tacky. Reserve any leftover flour for rolling the dough out.

Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for one hour.

On a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment, gently push the dough to the edges, using fingertips to stretch it and make dimpled indentations. Cover and allow the dough to rise for another hour in a warm place.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Distribute the thinly slices shallots and rosemary evenly over the focaccia. Drizzle with the remaining 1/3 cup of Sigona’s fresh pressed Empeltre EVOO. Add a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper and sea salt.

Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes until golden brown. While still hot out of the oven, drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil to taste. Serve warm and enjoy.

Click here for more great recipes!


June 4, 2012

Sigona’s Fresh Press Olive Oil of the Month: June 2012

Sigona’s Fresh Press Olive Oil of the Month: June 2012

Since the last time we chatted, the sun has been shining brightly over the Bay Area, our San Francisco Giants have been gaining ground on those pesky Los Angeles Dodgers and the Facebook IPO was about as underwhelming as a stale cracker.

Fledgling stocks aside, June is the ideal time to dust off that BBQ, call up a few friends and enjoy delicious dishes created with Sigona’s fresh produce. That’s why we’ve provided you with a truly astounding pizza pie that will have your friends and family “oohing” and “ahhing” with pleasure. It’s even the perfect dish for dad on Father’s Day.

With that said, here is June’s extra virgin olive oil of the month from Sigona’s Farmers Market that will have your pizza tasting fantastic

Sigona’s June 2012 olive oil of the month

Nocellara From Argentina

This oil:

  • is buttery and light up front while possessing a fruity middle
  • has a slick kick of pepper on the finish
  • contains a polyphenol count of 223

Try this recipe from Veronica Foods

Grilled Thin Crust Pizza With Fresh Fava Bean Pesto & Arugula Salad with Gremolata Vinaigrette

Fresh Fava Bean & Goat Cheese Pesto

  • 3 pounds fresh fava bean pods
  • 2 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Nocellara Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Argentina
  • 1/3 cup fresh goat cheese (If you don’t like goat cheese, we have some awesome French Bries on sale this week that would work well)
  • 1/4 cup really good quality Pecorino Romano

Directions: Have a medium bowl of ice water prepared. Bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to boil. Shell the fava beans and add to the salted water. Blanch the fava beans for 2 minutes and then add to the bowl of ice water. Allow to cool. Slip the peel off each bean and place in to a food processor with all the other ingredients. Pulse until pureed and creamy. Adjust seasoning to taste and reserve. This pesto sauce can also be used over pasta, on bruschetta, or as a dip for veggies.

Thin Crust Nocellara Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Argentina Pizza Dough

  •  4 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 cups warm 110 degree spring or filtered water
  • 1/3 cup Nocellara Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Argentina
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Note: A quickie alternative you’ll find in our stores is Vicolo organic corn meal pizza crust and Lomonica par-baked pizza crust. Both are excellent.

Directions: If using a bread machine follow the instructions for adding ingredients to the machine. If mixing in a mixer or by hand, combine the sugar and water and yeast in a large bowl or mixer bowl. Allow to sit for five minutes. Add the olive oil and salt. Begin mixing in the flour. It will be fairly wet but avoid the temptation to add more flour. Knead for approximately 3 minutes until the dough is relatively smooth and cohesive. Allow to rise for 1 hour covered in a warm place. Divide and shape or roll the dough in to two large thin crust pizzas or three medium thin crust pizzas. Makes enough dough for 2 large or three medium thin crust pizzas

Simple Arugula Salad with Gremolata Vinaigrette

  • 5 cups baby arugula, washed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup Gremolata Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions: Just before the pizza is ready to be taken off the grill, combine the lemon juice with the sea salt. Whisk in the gremolata olive oil and season with pepper. Adjust seasoning and gently toss the arugula with the vinaigrette.

Grilled Thin Crust Pizza With Fava Bean Pesto & Arugula Salad With Gremolata Vinaigrette

  • Prepared pizza dough above
  • Fava Bean Pesto
  • 1 pound fresh buffalo mozzarella fresca, thinly sliced
  • Simple Arugula Salad with Gremolata Vinaigrette

Directions: Add approximately 1/3 cup of pesto to each medium pizza or 1/2 cup to each large pizza. Add a layer of mozzarella, season with a little sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Grill or bake at a minimum of 500 degrees, preferably on a preheated pizza stone, or on a large, inverted, preheated cast iron skillet. Depending on how hot you can get your oven or grill, the cooking time will be anywhere between 5-10 minutes. You are looking for golden brown crust and bubbling cheese. Remove from the oven and top with the prepared Simple Arugula Salad and serve immediately.

Serves 6-8

May 10, 2012

Sigona’s Fresh Press Olive Oil of the Month: May 2012

Sigona’s Fresh Press Olive Oil of the Month: May 2012

Ah spring! It’s time to welcome back the sun shining on your face, the San Francisco Giants to AT&T Park and flavor-exploding salads to your lunches, dinners and BBQs. You may already be planning a nice home cooked meal for Mother’s Day – and Memorial Day will be here before you know it as well – so this month’s olive oil and recipe couldn’t come at a better time.

Chilean ArbequinaDon’t forget we have some fantastic in-store signage to provide you with all the oleic acid information you need when selecting your favorite fresh pressed olive oils. Have any questions? Just ask one of our experts in the olive oil section the next time you’re in Sigona’s. They’ll make sure you leave the store with the perfect extra virgin olive oil needed to turn any recipe into a home run.

Without further ado, here is our selection for a beautiful cultivar that really tastes fantastic right now.

Sigona’s May 2012 olive oil of the month

Chilean Arbequina

This oil…

  • while typically a mild cultivar, this particular crop produced a robust oil that’s exceptionally bold and flavorful with a polyphenol count of 435.
  • is lush, buttery and possesses a slightly delayed, mild peppery sensation on the back end. You’ll also notice glimpses of dry grass with aromas of ripe olive.
  • is crying out for inclusion in flavor-exploding dishes, including grilled bruschetta and ingredient-laden salads – including the shaved fennel masterpiece below.

Try this recipe from Veronica Foods

Shaved Fennel Salad with Chilean Arbequina

  • 2 trimmed, thinly sliced fennel (sweet anise) bulbs
  • 2 TBL finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 4 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Pressed Chilean Arbequina Olive Oil
  • 2 TBL freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup finely shaved Pecorino Romano
  • 3 cups mixed baby greens and radishes for presentation – optional (wash first)

Directions: Place the shaved fennel in a re-sealable bag or bowl large enough to hold it. Thoroughly whisk together the Chilean Arbequina olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and parsley.

Pour over the fennel and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for two hours.

In a bowl or large platter, arrange a bed of mixed baby greens. Arrange fennel over the greens, pouring any remaining dressing over the fennel and greens. Sprinkle evenly with shaved Pecorino Romano and fresh ground pepper.

Serves 4-6.

April 2, 2012

Sigona’s Olive Oil of the Month: April 2012

Sigona’s Olive Oil of the Month: April 2012

sigonas spanish manzanillo

Come check out Sigona's olive oil of the month, Spanish Manzanillo

With March arrived the first day of spring, although it was difficult to tell due to the rains that came crashing down from the clouds above. While the entire Bay Area is still desperate for more precipitation – the National Weather Service has stated that we’re still hovering at around 50% of normal rainfall – don’t let these overcast and soggy days keep you from thinking about delicious and vegetable-packed dishes that pair perfectly with tasty barbequed meats. We’ve got a killer roasted veggie recipe below that’s comforting, healthy and great for indoor and outdoor picnics.

Last month we talked a little bit about the chemistry behind Sigona’s Fresh Press olive oils, e.g. the higher the polyphenol count and oleic acid the better. Check out our new in-store signage about the oleic acid portion of the chemical chart. We’ve blown this sign up extra-large to make it easier to read. And of course, if you have any questions while in the store, just ask one of our crew members – they’ll be happy to assist you.

The April 2012 Sigona’s Olive oil of the Month is Fresh Press Manzanillo From Spain

This oil:

  • is fresh, big and fruity up front with a peppery sensation on the back-end
  • features a robust polyphenol count for a Manzanillo; typical Manzanillos struggle to reach a count in the low 300s, but this season’s press comes in at a stunning 383
  • is perfect for salads because although it’s packed full of fruitiness, it still comes out bold

Try this recipe!

Roasted Local Cauliflower with Savory Shallots

This is a very easy, simple and go-to veggie dish that will even satisfy folks that don’t typically enjoy cauliflower. The roasting really brings out the natural sugars of the veggies because it caramelizes the ingredients, which intensifies the savory and sweet flavors. This healthy dish supplies about 6 servings at only around 100 calories per serving.

  • Roasted Local Cauliflower with Savory Shallots
  • 1/8 cup of Sigona’s Fresh Press Manzanillo olive oil from Spain
  • 4 large shallots, quartered
  • 1 head of cauliflower cut into even florets about 1-1/2 inch each
  • 1 lemon zest and juice (Meyer lemon if available)
  • 1/2 tablespoon agave nectar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dash of cayenne pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 400F. In a large mixing bowl, combine olive oil, agave, cayenne, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper. Add cauliflower florets and shallots and mix thoroughly using your hands to ensure even coating of the olive oil mix.

Spread mixture in a single layer in a large baking pan. Bake for 25-35 minutes, stirring occasionally to get an even roast.

Transfer to a serving platter and serve warm.

March 1, 2012

Slow Braised Pork with Tomato-Fennel Sugo over Hojiblanca Fried Polenta

Slow Braised Pork with Tomato-Fennel Sugo over Hojiblanca Fried Polenta

Photo and recipe courtesy of Rachel Bradley-Gomez of the food blog Au Jardin Potager

Recipe courtesy of Rachel Bradley-Gomez of the food blog Au Jardin Potager. Serves 8.

Slow Braised Pork with Tomato-Fennel Sugo

  • 5-7 pound bone in pork shoulder
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 2 – 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 8 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced (also known as Sweet Anise)
  • 3″ sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped
  • 3 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press Hojiblanca Olive Oil from Spain (Sigona’s olive oil of the month for March 2012)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 450.

Rub the entire pork shoulder with a tablespoon of Hojiblanca olive oil, season the entire surface area liberally with salt and fresh ground pepper and place in the roasting pan, fat side up. Arrange the vegetables around the roast in the pan, drizzle and toss with another tablespoon of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Roast the shoulder and vegetables uncovered at 450 for 20 minutes until the vegetables begin to take color and the pork roast is browned.

Reduce the oven to 350.

In a large bowl, mix together the tomatoes, wine, a tablespoon of Hojiblanca, garlic and the rosemary leaves. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour evenly over the roast and vegetables in the pan. With heavy duty foil, tightly seal the roasting pan and roast at 350 for five hours.

Meanwhile, make the polenta.

Hojiblanca Fried Polenta

  • 2 TBL plus enough to fill a frying pan 2″ (a few cups) Sigona’s Fresh Press Hojiblanca olive oil from Spain  (Sigona’s olive oil of the month for March 2012)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups polenta
  • 2 shallots, finely minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • fresh ground pepper
  • Kosher salt

Directions: In a 3+ quart sauce pan heat one tablespoon of Hojiblanca. Sauté the onion until translucent, about three minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. While stirring constantly, add the polenta in a steady stream. Continue stirring constantly for 20-25 minutes until the polenta is thick.

Add the cheese, remaining tablespoon of Hojiblanca, and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Immediately pour the polenta in to a 9″x13″ baking dish and allow to cool. Refrigerate covered in plastic wrap.

Cut the polenta in to squares or rectangles approximately 3″ x 3″ in size.  Heat 2″ of Hojiblanca to 350F on a deep fry thermometer in a heavy, deep sided frying pan. Fry the polenta slices a few at a time, approximately 3-5 minutes per side until golden brown.

Serve the pork in large shreds with the sauce from the pan over the hot, crispy polenta.

February 7, 2012

Sigona’s February 2012 olive oil of the month

Sigona’s February 2012 olive oil of the month


from Portugal

This oil…

  • is beautifully floral, herbaceous and fantastically fresh
  • comes from the most coveted of all indigenous Portuguese varietals
  • presents a robust, fruity flavor up front, followed by a well-balanced middle featuring flavors of ripe olive and a hint of herbs; it finishes with a slight, fleeting pepper sensation on the back end
  • boasts a 355 polyphenol count; polyphenols have beneficial effects on cholesterol, blood pressure and coronary disease risk

Try this recipe: Spinach & Basil Pesto With Cobrançosa Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

December 20, 2011

Sigona’s Olive Oil of the Month: December 2011

Sigona’s Olive Oil of the Month: December 2011

Do you have your frequent olive oil buyer card yet? We know you love our olive oil, and we want to thank you for your loyalty! Here’s the deal: get a free large bottle (750ml) of Sigona’s Fresh Press olive oil after you buy 10 (750ml only). That’s it! Buy 10, get the 11th free! Ask for a frequent buyer card next time you’re in one of our stores.

Now…on to the olive oil of the month. California oils have just started, but we just had to give Chile one more shot for the season. Our pick this month is a wonderful, distinctive cultivar that we think is one of the best of the best!

Arbequina from Chile

Sigona’s December 2011 olive oil of the month

This oil…

  • features aromas of ripe olive, floral and a hint of dry grass. It’s creamy and buttery with a delayed, mild peppery sensation on the back end.
  • is traditionally a mild cultivar, but this crop produced an outstanding oil that’s very tasty and very bold, with a polyphenol count of 435.


Wish to receive this info via email at the beginning of each month? It’s easy to subscribe; send an email to share@sigonas.com, subject: olive oil!

November 14, 2011

Sigona’s Olive Oil of the Month: Frantoio/Leccino Blend from Chile

Sigona’s Olive Oil of the Month: Frantoio/Leccino Blend from Chile

This oil…wow. For starters, our featured blend this month boasts a 653 polyphenol count! It has a well-balanced flavor sensation that’s robust, yet very smooth, and it’s more mellow than you’d expect from an oil with such impressive stats. That’s the beauty of the blend of these two Italian olive cultivars!

Chile produced some magnificent oils this season, and the power of these oils combined made for a showstopper.

Frantoio/Leccino Blend

From Chile

This oil…

  • Presents a fruity punch with a very rounded finish. It’s not as in your face as you’d expect from an oil with a high polyphenol count; it’s big and fruity, yet complex and mellow.
  • Is an aromatic, grassy oil with flavor notes of green banana and green almond.
  • Would go well with any rice, pasta, hearty soup or whole grain dish as it adds flavor, but doesn’t overpower the dish.

Try it in our recipe for Local Lacinato Kale, Winter Squash and Cannellini Soup

November 4, 2011

Recipe: Local Lacinato Kale, Winter Squash and Cannellini Soup

Recipe: Local Lacinato Kale, Winter Squash and Cannellini Soup

The Frantoio Leccino olive oil blend from Chile goes well with this soup, adding another layer of flavor that doesn’t overpower the dish. I love adding a few dashes of Tabasco, a nod to my mother’s family who landed in New Orleans after leaving Sicily. You can also add cooked pancetta, but I left it out to keep it on the healthy side. Serves 6.


  • 1 1/2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press Frantoio Leccino olive oil (Chile), plus another 1 1/2 TBL or more, divided,  for finishing
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 bunch Lacinato kale, stems and veins removed (*see tip below), roughly chopped into strips
  • 8 cups chicken stock/broth
  • 1 1/2 lb. Butternut squash (or other winter squash), peeled & diced to small cubes (about 2 c.)
  • 1 can of Cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained
  • A dash or more, to taste, of Tabasco
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano, for garnish and added flavor

*Cook’s note: Kale is smaller so it’s difficult to cut out the stem and veins. An easy way to so this is with your hands: hold the stem at the base where leaf begins. With your other hand, hold the stem between your thumb and index finger knuckle, apply pressure and pull up, stripping the leaf from the stem. Discard stems.

Directions: In a large soup pot, heat 1 1/2 TBL olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, squash and celery. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 7 minutes.

Pour in the stock and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and add in the kale and beans. Cover and cook about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, season with salt, pepper and Tabasco, to taste. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over individual servings (this brings out the flavor of the oil) and top with grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Allow diners to add more Tabasco, if desired.

October 15, 2011

Sigona’s Olive Oil of the Month: Hojiblanca from Australia

Sigona’s Olive Oil of the Month: Hojiblanca from Australia

It’s already mid-October and before we know it we’ll have new crop California olive oil in the store!

Until then, be sure to come in for a bottle of one of the in-season, award-winning oils from Australia, such as the…

Hojiblanca from Australia
Sigona’s Fresh Press Olive Oil of the Month for October 2011

This oil…

  • Is a great starter choice for someone swearing off butter to get into using and flavoring with oil.
  • Is true to its cultivar; Hojiblanca olives, originally from Spain, produce a creamy, sweet and delicate oil.
  • Presents an olive flavor and grassy note upfront, followed by hints of strawberry and peach. It finishes with a slight, desirable pungency.
  • Won “Best of Show,” “Best of Class” and a gold medal in the delicate category at the LA International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition.

Olive Oil Ice Cream and Cake with Cointreau Syrup and Candied Orange from Luisa Ormonde.

Try it in this recipe: Olive Oil Ice Cream & Cake with Cointreau Syrup and Candied Orange

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