Sicilian chef forages for his own food in San Francisco

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As a child in Sicily, Angelo Garro of Omnivore learned to forage for the wild fennel that grew around his childhood home, and learned to cook with the other herbs and vegetables his mother grew in her garden. They ate the fresh eggs of the chickens they raised, along with rabbits, and fished in the brilliant blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

Angelo Garro preparing to roast a chicken using Omnivore Limone.
Angelo Garro preparing to roast a chicken using Omnivore Limone.

When they didn’t eat the meat from the rabbits or chickens they raised themselves or the fish they caught, they served it in his mother’s restaurant. His favorite meal of handmade squid ink pasta and fresh sardines was one of the many delicious dishes his mother prepared in her family style restaurant. The restaurant was very small, with three long tables that invited everyone to sit together and get to know people they’d never met before.

Grilled steak with Omnivore Salt seasoning.
Grilled steak with Omnivore Salt seasoning.

His grandmother mixed the chili peppers and other spices hanging in her kitchen with salt, then used the blend as a base for almost any dish. The combination of salt, peppers, and other spices enhanced the natural flavor of any dish and worked as a rub, marinade, or seasoning. Deeply inspired by his grandmother’s respect for nature and his mother’s knowledge of food, Angelo founded his company, Omnivore, with the goal of inspiring others to cook in a way that is rewarding, simple, and completely natural.

Handmade strozzapreti, with wild rapini and smoked bacon, sprinkled with a pinch of Omnivore Salt.
Handmade strozzapreti, with wild rapini and smoked bacon, sprinkled with a pinch of Omnivore Salt.

The company’s first product, Omnivore Salt, was created in honor of the recipe handed down to Angelo from his grandmother. Its natural sea salt is harvested from the salt beds off the coast of Northern California and blended with fresh herbs and spices. It can be used as a rub for grilling and roasting, a foundation for sauces, soups, and dressings, or sprinkled on vegetables. A few of the recipes Angelo uses it with include: creamy potatoes gratin, kraut made with cabbage and carrots served on a juicy cheddar burger, homemade strozzapreti noodles with wild rapini and smoked bacon sautéed with garlic and red chili flakes, and sausage stuffing baked with fennel, apple, sage, and onions.

Asparagus and fresh peas soup with Omnivore Limone.
Asparagus and fresh peas soup with Omnivore Limone.

A slightly different spin on their original salt recipe is the Omnivore Limone. This product has a bit of a zesty taste that comes from the blend of lemon and ginger in the salt, along with several additional spices: garlic, parsley, fennel, dill, and black pepper. It brings out the flavor of grilled or roasted seafood and white meats when used as a rub or marinade, and can be added to brines, soups, and stews for an extra zesty, herb flavor. Angelo suggests incorporating this product with his recipe for haricot verts sautéed with garlic, shallots, and tarragon, which combines the salt with butter for a lemony butter seasoning, as well as his roasted sage turkey simmered in a smooth gravy, and a light asparagus and fresh pea soup blended with caramelized shallots, white pepper, and lemon juice.

Roasted winter vegetables with Omnivore Sicilia.
Roasted winter vegetables with Omnivore Sicilia and Omnivore Salt.

If you’re looking for a savory cooking base or finishing sauce, Omnivore Sicilia offers a bold, rich taste when brushed on meat, seafood, and vegetables, or added to soups, stews, potato salads, marinades, sauces, and stir fries, or even drizzled on eggs. This sauce’s rich flavors come from a mix of balsamic vinegar, ancho peppers, tomatoes, fennel, garlic, and other spices. Brush Omnivore Sicilia on Angelo’s recipe for roasted pork loin with fresh garlic and coriander, or to add flavor to your pan of cauliflower, carrots, and brussels sprouts in Angelo’s winter vegetable roast garnished with homemade gremolata. Sicilia can also make a great addition to hummus sprinkled with freshly-picked basil.

Grilled oysters with Vulcano Classic.
Grilled oysters with Vulcano Classic.

When your burger or fries need a bit of a kick, Vulcano Classic offers what the Omnivore team describe as a savory, complex flavor ideal for livening up dipping sauces, cocktail sauces, spreads, and soups. They suggested dripping a little onto your eggs, potatoes, sausages, or stir fries as well. This condiment has a mild spice level which is just enough to tickle your palette, and it’s composed of tomatoes, cayenne and bell peppers, onions, garlic, and natural sea salt. Angelo’s grilled oyster recipe with champagne vinegar, chopped shallots, and puréed ginger is served with Vulcano Classic, and acts as a perfect dish for an outdoor barbecue, special occasion, or summer night snack while watching the last pink and coral streaks of sun fade into the horizon from a picnic blanket on a forgotten white sand beach. A twist on this classic has just been released as Omnivore’s newest product: Vulcano Ginger. The bite of ginger, mixed with red bell pepper, onion, and tomato, offers a tangy flavor best paired with pork, poultry, or seafood. The Omnivore team suggest adding it to your crab, oysters, rice dishes, grilled vegetables, stir fries and other Asian inspired dishes, as well as mixing it with cream cheese, yogurt, salad dressings, or even cocktails!

Ariel Giacobbe loves books, board games, and all things sweet, especially baking them herself. She has experience working for several publications, including: The Folsom Telegraph, Zoom Newspaper, Sactown Magazine, Poetry Flash, The El Dorado Hills Telegraph, and Cinewire Magazine.

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