Cooking with olive oil has long been a popular trend, and for good reason. Olive oil, especially high-quality olive oil, offers a flavorful option for a variety of culinary dishes as well as a healthier alternative to many of the other cooking fats available today.
Mastering the art of using olive oil can elevate your cooking to new heights, both in terms of taste and health benefits. Let’s explore the best ways to utilize this precious oil in your culinary creations.
Selecting the Right Olive Oil
The first, and perhaps most important step in this process is to choose the right variety of olive oil. We suggest diving right into extra virgin olive oils as they are the highest quality and also offer the most flavorful option. Obtained from the first cold pressing of ripe olives, without the use of heat or chemicals preserves the taste of the olive fruit while also maintaining all of the amazing health benefits. This oil comes in a variety of options from medium to robust. Extra virgin olive oil also comes from a variety of regions around the world which only serves to enhance the individual flavors of the oils themselves.
As a note, we recommend purchasing from a reputable vendor, like the ultra-premium oils that we source from Veronica Foods. Specialty retailers and reputable vendors have a deeper knowledge of extra virgin olive oils and purchasing from them will ensure you’re getting the highest quality oil on the market.
Dressings and Vinaigrettes
Olive oil forms the foundation of some of the best dressings and vinaigrettes. It’s smooth, fruity undertones complement a variety of ingredients. For a classic vinaigrette, mix extra virgin olive oil with balsamic or red wine vinegar, a touch of Dijon mustard, minced garlic, honey, and salt. Experiment by adding in fresh herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme to create unique flavor profiles.
Enhance the Flavors in Your Cooking
Extra virgin olive oil can work true culinary magic by transforming the most simple ingredients into extraordinary dishes. Use extra virgin olive oil to sauté vegetables, garlic, and onions to form a flavorful base for your next soup, stew, or sauce. The high smoke point of high-quality extra virgin olive oil makes it a great option for a variety of cooking methods from frying to baking.
Baking and Desserts
Olive oil’s subtle fruitiness can enhance baked goods and desserts. Substituting it for butter or other fats in recipes lends a unique dimension to your treats. You can also drizzle a touch of extra virgin olive oil over gelato, ice cream, or even fresh berries for an truly delightful dessert. Try one of our fused or infused olive oils for this.
Dipping and Spreads
Elevate your appetizer game with a simple yet impressive olive oil dip. Mix extra virgin olive oil with a pinch of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Serve it with crusty bread for a sophisticated starter. Alternatively, blend olive oil with roasted red peppers, garlic, and chickpeas to create a velvety and healthy spread reminiscent of hummus.
Grilling and Marinades
Olive oil’s robust flavor makes it an excellent companion for grilling. Create tasty marinades by combining extra virgin olive oil with herbs, spices, and acidic elements like lemon juice. Or pair one of our ultra-premium olive oils with one of delicious balsamic vinegars for an extra flavor punch. Marinate meats or vegetables before grilling to impart both flavor and tenderness. The oil’s natural fats also prevent sticking and create attractive grill marks.
You can also top the meat and vegetables with oil and vinegar after cooking to get additional flavor into your dishes.
Preserving and Pickling
Incorporate olive oil into your preservation endeavors. Marinate olives, cheese, or even garlic cloves in a mixture of olive oil and herbs. These make for delectable antipasti or additions to charcuterie boards. The oil acts as a preservative while enhancing the flavors of the preserved ingredients.
Storing Olive Oil
Proper storage ensures that your olive oil retains its freshness and flavor. Keep it away from heat, light, and air, which can lead to oxidation and degradation. Store olive oil in a cool, dark place and tightly seal the container after each use. Olive oil needs to be used within 14 months of the crush date unless it is a free style, then it can be up to 24 months. Extra virgin olive oil is a fruit juice and needs to be treated as such.
Olive oil’s allure lies in its ability to enhance dishes and contribute to a healthy lifestyle. From drizzling over salads to infusing with flavors and even enriching desserts, its culinary potential is truly endless.