Hazelnut Oil - It Stands Alone!
Hazelnut oil has a subtle, rich flavor that is unique among other oils but distinctly hazelnut. We recently introduced the oil for sale at farmer’s markets this fall, and our customers have been raving about it. Our grandpa perhaps said it best: “Hazelnut oil stands alone – there is nothing like it!”
Our custom farm machinist in Italy, who built our small-batch roaster, promised to build us an oil press a couple of years ago. Even though the idea was simple, this machine had to be designed, built, and torn down and rebuilt several times to get it just right – but the result was worth it! Our one-of-a-kind, artisanal oil press was shipped from Italy and installed here in the summer of 2010.
Since then, we have found that we can only press a few small batches of hazelnuts each day, and each batch of 25 pounds of pure, dry roasted hazelnuts yields about 10 bottles of amber oil. The oil is gently filtered through cheesecloth and bottled in our kitchen. Since this is an unprocessed oil, there are some “cloudy” hazelnut proteins that tend to settle at the bottom of the bottle. We say shake up your bottle and let your palate experience all the flavors the hazelnut has to offer.
Hazelnut oil is a healthy oil, rich in monounsaturated fats, and can be used for cooking and baking. Perhaps the best use of our oil however is as a “finishing” oil – for topping or dipping. Our chefs and customers have begun experimenting with the oil, and we are finding that many people like to use it to replace butter in various recipes. Our personal favorite is topping baked acorn squash with hazelnut oil – simple and delicious!
Consider using it to top roasted beets just as they are served. Try it over rice and pasta as you are serving them, and it evens turns a simple baked potato into an interesting side- add it at the table as you would butter or other toppings.
A bottle of oil makes a beautiful gift or a treat for your own kitchen. Please note that it is delicate and will last only a few months if stored at room temperature.