I have always loved walnut oil. But it is one of those ingredients that I forget I have on hand – probably because I store it in the refrigerator and who remembers they have oil in the refrigerator until it is too late and it becomes rancid? And then, like most things, out of site (pantry), out of mind. I was reminded of this wonderful ingredient recently when I read that La Tourangelle Roasted Walnut Oil had been inducted into the San Francisco Chronicle Taster’s Choice Hall of Fame. La Tourangelle, California Gourmet Oils, as the website tells us, is a partnership between Les Huileries de la Croix Verte et la Tourangelle based in Saumer, France and California Oils Corporation based in South Richmond California. The oil mill is in Woodland, California.
I ran over to Rainbow Grocery the day after the review appeared in the paper and they were sold out. “It would be great,” said the grocery clerk, “if the Chronicle had let us know about the rating and we could have ordered accordingly”. A ‘Sold Out’ sign is the price of success, I guess. Next stop was Whole Foods on California Street. Sold Out. My husband suggested I try the Mill Valley Whole foods because ‘no one in Mill Valley reads the Chronicle’. Huh. Well, I don’t know about that but their shelf was fully stocked.
This is great walnut oil. It has a lovely deep roasted flavor that lingers on the palate. I have been drizzling it on a composed salad of sliced strawberries, slivers of crunchy Asian pear and hunks of ripe Haas avocado. It has also served as a quick sauce for pasta. Boil one pound of shaped pasta in heavily salted water. While the pasta drains, pour about one quarter cup of oil into the still warm, empty pasta pot. Add the cooked pasta back in. Toss well. Add lots of coarsely ground Tellicherry black pepper and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve immediately. The nuttiness of the parm works beautifully with the oil.