Mild it may be, but it is indeed fall. The afternoon light is as rich as egg yolk, the clocks have shifted, and our menu has shifted too.
Nocellara olio nuovo has just arrived from Sicily. It’s an intensely green oil made from nocellara del Belice olives (the same ones which, when cured correctly, become extra-mild Castelvetrano olives for the table). At the moment, we’re drizzling it on our ribollita, an autumn vegetable soup with smoked tomato, Tuscan kale, and poached egg.
Other things to look forward to:
Pan-roasted chicken rolata with braised Lacinato kale, King Trumpet mushrooms, and chicken sugo
classic Northern Italian cold veal with tuna sauce
Charcoal-grilled local pole-caught Albacore with fresh Cranberry beans, eggplant puree, cherry tomatoes, and Armenian cucumber
This week’s aged wines by the glass:
Barbaresco, “Riserva,” Barale 1999
Barolo, “Vigna Castellero,” Barale, 1999
Average temperatures out in Yolo County have been hot but not too hot (95 degrees during the day, low 70s at night) which is great for summer produce. Lots of stuff hitting the market (and the menu) this week including Cranberry beans, zucchini, corn, egglant, and YES, tomatoes! Mainly cherry tomatoes but also our first Early Girls from Riverdog Farm. Chef Rhodehamel has been dehydrating these, then lightly smoking and serving them in a traditional southern Italian dish:
Cavatelli with Santa Barbara sea urchin, smoked Early Girl tomatoes, Calabrian chili, and parsley
Also decidedly summer:
Soup of Brentwood corn with salsa of cherry tomatoes, Jalapeño pepper, and basil
Charcoal-grilled shrimp-stuffed squid with eggplant puree, fresh Cranberry beans, and marinated cherry tomatoes
Although cherries got hit hard this year, peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots seem to have been less affected with most varieties appearing right on schedule and in good supply. As we head towards July many of the mid-season varieties are taking a turn on both the Oliveto dinner menu and the dessert menu and occasionally showing up in the early a.m. cafe in the form of a pop-up crostata (which goes great with an cappuccino btw).
An eye-popping visit to the Tuesday Farmers’ Market makes it hard to ignore that summer is almost here. Gorgeous produce from Full Belly, Dirty Girl, and Riverdog will be all over the menu to ring in this weekend’s summer solstice including:
We can’t believe we’re about to say this, but…asparagus. Artichokes. Radicchio!
Although the weather has taken a cooler turn in the past week, the produce at the South Berkeley Farmers’ Market yesterday was the product of an unusually hot season that got off to an early start with a number of heatwaves that began back in May. Instead of a steady trickle of new harvests, things seem to be arriving all at once with peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, (all those heat-loving plants) taking the lead.
Spaghettini with Santa Barbara sea urchin, Full Belly Farm tomato, pancetta, and hot pepper
We’re surprised, to say the least. Tomatoes, already?
After two years of late seasons, what do we see? These beautiful spaghettini and paccheri pasta dishes, both featuring ripe tomatoes from Full Belly Farm. Just in time for the summer solstice.
It’s unusual to see tomatoes in June normally, but it’s even more startling to see tomatoes this good this early. It’s an exciting sign for us — the transition from a spring to summer menu has begun.
More updates to come as the season continues…and we work our way towards Tomato Dinners.
Call (510) 547-5356 or reserve online
Want to meet the woman behind the tomatoes and other amazing produce on the Oliveto menu?
Farmer Judith Redmond of Full Belly Farm will be here, with her husband and partner Andrew Brait, on Monday, June 24, for a special, intimate dinner in our Siena Room. A couple spots are still open: Join us and enjoy a prix fixe menu full of peak Full Belly produce, plus a chance for conversation with one of our great local farm institutions.
See the full menu, pricing, and more details here.
Call (510) 547-5356 for reservations. Please note there will be one seating at 6:30pm.