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Cook this: Jamie Oliver’s winter salad with crushed hazelnuts and Barolo dressing from Jamie Cooks Italy

Cook this: Jamie Oliver’s winter salad with crushed hazelnuts and Barolo dressing from Jamie Cooks Italy
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Our cookbook of the week is Jamie Cooks Italy by Jamie Oliver. Over the next three days, we’ll feature recipes from the book and an interview with its author.

Bitterness – typically cast in a negative light, in matters of the palate and otherwise – is the star of Jamie Oliver’s winter salad. From cruciferous vegetables to citrus fruits, many common foods go through a debittering process (the removal of bitter but healthful phytonutrients) in the name of palatability long before they hit the supermarket.

Winter salad from Jamie Cooks Italy. David Loftus

“For the last 40 years in the Western world particularly, we have systematically edited out our cultural history on bitter – whether that’s herbs, spices or vegetables in particular – and we’ve promoted sweet and salty,” says Oliver. “You can see that in our culture. You can see that in how things are working… even to a point where you can look at a chocolate bar and actually say, ‘You’re the most honest thing in this supermarket.’ Chocolate’s never lied to you. It’s always been a treat.”

Rather than viewing it as undesirable, offsetting bitter with sweet, smoky and sour ingredients – as he does here – snaps all of the flavours into focus, Oliver adds. In Italian cuisine, bitter elements are well represented, and can be seen in a wide variety of foods ranging from radicchio to artichokes and even olive oil. “It’s all about bringing back the old flavour,” says Oliver. “But it is about balance.”
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