Why do roasted wild mushrooms at AOC taste so damn good? I can't exactly remember how I figured it out and via which source, but I think the secret ingredient might be walnut oil. (As well as the not-so-secret wood burning oven that reaches temps impossible in a residential one.)
Walnuts suddenly hold new magic for me. Before I could take or leave them, and now I just love them. Sort of like how I started to get into olives when I was 21. But in this case, it's one of those craving-what-your-body-nutritionally-needs type situations. Those Omega 3s are essential to nursing moms.
In December I curiously looked at cans of La Nogalera brand oil , which is peddled all over Santa Barbara wineries. I was then thrilled to get it direct from the source at the Santa Monica market. Shit, I can't get enough of the stuff.
I drizzle it on plain mache lettuce, use it as a dip for baguette, and recently braised cavolo nero in it. Some people recommend blanching the Tuscan "black cabbage" before cooking it in oil, but I see no need. Sautee two shallots in walnut oil cut with a little canola oil, and add in a bunch or two of the dark leafy green is among best simple dishes imaginable. I even devoured the cavolo nero leftovers after having some Venezuelan chocolate gelato and raspberry sorbetto at Pazzo. How often is it that the sweetness and richness of a veggie rivals that of ice cream? I can't wait next to get my hands on some mushrooms.