Friday, November 7, 2014

O Olive Oil Partners with Martha Stewart...Featuring Tomato-Basil Shrimp Bisque

My friends at O Olive Oil recently announced an exciting partnership with PBS's Martha Stewart's Cooking School series. The new season began airing last month and will re-air several times through 2016. Each informative 30-minute episode features Martha demonstrating classic cooking techniques using her signature step-by-step, how-to teaching process. If you’ve never tried O Olive Oil, you should definitely check out their artisinal products! California-based O is the award-winning maker of specialty finishing olive oils and oak-aged wine vinegars. To celebrate its partnership with Martha Stewart, O sent me a collection of their flavored olive oils and vinegars to create a recipe to share with today. I instantly fell in love with their new Fresh Basil Olive Oil, which is made with fresh basil crushed with California Mission olives. decided to feature this aromatic olive oil in a comforting Fall soup. My Tomato-Basil Shrimp Bisque features a double dose of basil, fire-roasted tomatoes, and sweet shrimp in a creamy base. This bisque is ready to eat in less than an hour, and it tastes fabulous. To reduce the fat and calories in this bisque, heavy cream is replaced with a combination of reduced-fat cream cheese and 2% milk. I promise that the end result is a decadent and full of flavor!

Tomato-Basil Shrimp Bisque
adapted from Cooking Light
Ingredients (makes 4 servings):
  • 2 tbs. O Fresh Basil Olive Oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tbs. chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 3/4 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tbs. finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • Hot sauce to taste [Note: I used Garlic Tabasco]
Step 1: Add the O Fresh Basil Olive Oil to a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, basil, and red pepper flakes. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant and that shallots are starting to caramelize. Add the tomatoes – juice and all – and cream cheese to the Dutch oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cream cheese is completely melted.
Step 2: Use an immersion blender to blend the soup ingredients -- feel free to leave a few chunks for texture if you like. [Note: if you don’t have an immersion blender, ladle the soup into a blender container and blend before returning to the Dutch oven.] Add the milk and shrimp to the soup mixture. Cook – stirring every few minutes – until the soup is heated through and the shrimp are pink and completely cooked. Add the chopped flat-leaf parsley and the hot sauce to taste. Stir well to combine.
Step 3: Ladle the bisque into four soup bowls, arranging 2-3 reserved cooked shrimp in the middle of each bowl. I drizzled a bit more of the O Fresh Basil Olive Oil over each bowl of bisque for an extra “pop” of basil flavor. Serve the soup with warm crusty bread or garlic bread for dipping. I served my bowl with warm French bread dipped in a combination of the basil-infused olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and sea salt to taste. So good!
This bisque is so delicious – the layered basil flavor shines through nicely, and the fire-roasted tomatoes contribute a slightly smoky background flavor. I especially liked the slight background heat from the red pepper flakes and hot sauce. The bisque is creamy, but not overly rich. The combination of  light cream cheese and milk results in a creamy, yet light, soup. This bisque made a perfect Fall dinner on its own, but salad greens tossed in a vinaigrette made with the O Fresh Basil Olive Oil and O Honey White Balsamic would make a delicious pairing too!
O Olive Oil and the Martha Stewart Cooking School will support an active interaction with the show by engaging fans via social media. In celebration of this partnership, O recently announced a contest with a fabulous Grand Prize. One lucky person will receive a 7-course O-inspired dinner for four prepared by a professional chef in their home! O will also select 13 weekly winners of O Olive Oil and Vinegar over the course of the series. Entries may be submitted by visiting the O Olive Oil website before 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, December 31, 2014. I hope all of my readers go enter!!
Disclosure: O Olive Oil provided me with a selection of their olive oil and vinegars to facilitate recipe development. All opinions expressed are my own.

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