leave your inhibitions at the door
Fustini’s is a local purveyor of premium oils and vinegars – many infused – that started in Traverse City (MI) in 2008. Within a couple years, they opened stores in three other cities in Michigan. The Ann Arbor location is in Kerrytown Market & Shops, where the Farmers Market is held. They also sell through their website, www.fustinis.com.
They have a dizzying variety of oils and vinegars – all of which can be sampled before purchase. They have the standard unflavored ones, but what’s really fun to try are the different infusions. Some of my favorite vinegars are the chocolate, fig, pomegranate and lavender balsamics. On the oil side, the Barberry Coast green chili, basil, meyer lemon, and garlic are all excellent. My favorite has to be the White Truffle. I love adding a few drops to grilled asparagus, scrambled eggs, and even popcorn.
They recently started cooking classes and I got the pleasure of attending a sneak preview of them with Chef Andy. The classes are intimate with only half a dozen or so seats so everyone gets a good view of the action. More importantly, the smaller classes allows for great discussions with the Chef and other participants.
Speaking of other participants, I finally got to meet Clover and Kevin from Clover Eats. Clover is a med student here at U of M who, true to her Asian heritage, knows her away around a camera. Also in attendance was Mom Explores Michigan, which has all kinds of great info on life in The Mitten.
In the short time we were there, Chef Andy was able to go through four different dishes. I knew what was going to be prepared ahead of time, so I brought a couple bottles of wine – a 2010 Terre Antiche white from Piemonte and a 1996 Kinheimer Hubertuslay Spatlese Riesling.
And yes, I was a good boy and shared with my classmates.
Here’s what we ate –
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
4 peaches, cut in half and stones removed
¼ cup Fustini’s Peach Balsamic, reduced by half to make a syrup (see page 142)
2 stalks celery, small diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
½ red pepper, finely diced
1 teaspoon Fustini’s Garlic Olive Oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon Fustini’s Sicilian Lemon Balsamic
1 teaspoon Fustini’s Barbary Coast Green Chili Olive Oil
1 pound cooked crabmeat – blue crab, snow crab or king crab
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 Spread the lettuce on the bottom of a serving platter. Brush the cut sides of the peaches
with the Fustini’s Peach Balsamic syrup and nestle the peach halves, cut side up, in the lettuce
2 Combine the celery, jalapeño, red pepper, Fustini’s Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, scallions,
mayonnaise, Old Bay, Fustini’s Sicilian Lemon Balsamic, and Fustini’s Barbary Coast Chili
Olive Oil in a small bowl. Fold in the crabmeat.
3 Spoon the mixture into the peach halves.
Garnish with chopped parsley.
1 Tablespoon Fustini’s Sweet Hojiblanca Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Tilapia Fillets – Skinless and Boneless
Salt and Pepper
Pesto from Entertaining with Fustini’s
1/4 Cup Parmigiana Reggiano
1 Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2 Heat an oven proof pan over medium high heat and add the Fustini’s EVOO. When hot, season the tilapia and place the fish in the pan. Cook for three minutes and then flip.
3 Spread the pesto over the top of the fish, sprinkle with parmesan and place into the hot oven until fully cooked and browned – 8 to 10 minutes.
4 Remove and serve immediately.
¼ cup flour
salt and pepper
4 6–8 ounces whitefish fillets, skin on, pin bones removed
3 tablespoons Fustini’s Cobrancosa Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoons tomato, diced
1 tablespoon lemon supreme cuts, 4–8 pieces
1 teaspoon Fustini’s Sicilian Lemon Balsamic
Mixed herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley), chopped
1 Season flour with salt and pepper in a shallow plate or bowl. Dredge the whitefish fillets in the flour and shake off excess.
2 Heat 2 tablespoons Fustini’s Sweet Hojiblanca EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add the fillets, meat side down, and fry for 6–8 minutes. Turn fillets over and finish cooking, another 3–4 minutes. Remove to a serving plate.
3 Heat remaining tablespoon of Fustini’s Sweet Hojiblanca EVOO in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Place 1 tablespoon butter in the pan and swirl to brown slightly. Immediately add shallot and sauté for 30 seconds.
4 Add capers, tomatoes and lemon meats and continue sautéing for another minute.
5 Add Fustini’s Sicilian Lemon Balsamic and sauté another 30 seconds.
6 Remove from the heat and swirl in the second tablespoon of butter until sauce thickens. Spoon sauce over the hot fish. Garnish with mixed herbs and serve immediately.
For the shrimp:
1 tablespoon Fustini’s Arbosana Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pound shrimp, raw, peeled and deveined, reserving shells to make stock
Fustini’s Fra’Diavolo Sauce [see recipe below]
Fustini’s Basil Olive Oil
1 Heat the Fustini’s Arbosana Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Just before the oil is smoking, add the shrimp and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
2 Add several tablespoons of the Fustini’s Fra’Diavolo Sauce and simmer until the shrimp are fully cooked, another minute or two.
3 Remove from the heat and serve over cooked pasta or as it is with a garnish of chopped parsley and a drizzle of Fustini’s Basil Olive Oil.
Fustinis Fra’Diavolo Sauce
3 tablespoons Fustini’s Arbosana Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 shallot sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
3 Roma Tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1 teaspoon Fustini’s Cayenne Olive Oil
2 tablespoons shrimp stock
1/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoons Fustini’s Oregano Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 Heat the Fustini’s Arbosana Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a medium size stock pot over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
2 Add the Roma tomatoes, Fustinis Cayenne Olive Oil, shrimp stock, white wine, and Fustini’s Oregano Balsamic Vinegar, bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened and the tomatoes have broken down, 10 to 12 minutes.
3 Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.
I really enjoyed the whitefish and the shrimp, both of which I paired with the Riesling. All of the dishes were relatively simple and I can easily see making these for guests or even on a weekday night at home. Chef Andy is friendly, engaging, and is generous with the quick tips and anecdotes.
It’s definitely worth checking out one of their classes. Go to their website for details.