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Best Ways to Use Olive Oil

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.

Conclusion

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.

How To Use Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is fast approaching (I know we can’t believe it either) and while this year is likely to look much different for many families, there’s no reason why your menu can’t still be absolutely top notch.

While Thanksgiving brings with it lots of traditional recipes from generations past, we always recommend getting a little creative with your dishes. Here are some great ways that you can add in high quality olive oils and balsamic vinegars that will definitely impress family and friends.

Start with the Appetizers

If you’re the type of host that likes to extend the meal by offering appetizers before the meal that can be a great opportunity to utilize your favorite oil or vinegar. From crostini to caprese salads there are lots of delicious options.

Use It on the Turkey

I’m sure everyone has heard that age old saying “but turkey is so dry.” Well not to fear, you can work to eliminate this by basting, rubbing, or even injecting delicious sauces onto the turkey throughout the cooking process. While most people might think to use butter, substituting with a high quality extra virgin olive oil is a healthier (and tastier) alternative. You can use a traditional olive oil or select from a number of fused or infused oils instead. We suggest trying our butter, rosemary, or lemon olive oils for you to try out this holiday season. Shop for our oils here.

Spice Up the Cranberry Sauce

Using a balsamic vinegar in your cranberry sauce can provide a nice balance to the tartness of the berries. For this type of use we definitely suggest a white balsamic vinegar as the darker balsamic will add a different color to the beautiful, bright sauce you’re working to create.

Drizzle it on the Veggies

Extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar make a great addition to roasted and grilled vegetables at any time of the year, and Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to showcase any of your favorite recipes. From green beans to brussels sprouts you can definitely add a little extra something special to the holiday table. Looking for some inspiration? Try out these sautéed green beans  or these caramelized brussels sprouts.

Make a Salad

This might seem like the most basic of all ways to incorporate olive oil or balsamic vinegar, but that doesn’t mean your salad will be boring. There are hundreds of delicious combinations that you can use to create a salad dressing that your guests will be raving about. Try out this wedge salad for a spin on a traditional favorite or this squash and corn salad for something a little bit different for your table. You can also create your own dressing or vinaigrette from scratch by pairing together any oil and vinegar from our vast selection.

Don’t Forget Dessert

Olive oil can be a great substitute in baking of any kind, and it’s an exact one-to-one swap for other oils like canola or vegetable. You can also swap it out for butter in a ratio of three parts olive oil to four parts butter.

Using olive oil, especially a high quality one will add a richness to the flavor and olive oil comes with a lot of great health benefits too. While pumpkin pie is likely to hit the table at some point, offer your family a different option with this tasty tiramisu.

Cocktails for the win

A surprising and often overlooked use for balsamic vinegars can be during cocktail hour. You might not think of it often, but balsamic vinegar can be a great natural sweetener for non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages alike. For a homemade take on seltzer water, simply pour the seltzer water over ice and stir in your favorite white balsamic vinegar. For a non-alcoholic recipe try this blueberry lemon-thyme shrub or for those guests who are old enough, you can serve this elderflower champagne.

Our entire staff at D’Olivo are experts at pairing together our oils and vinegars and we love to offer suggestion for recipes. If you’re looking for ideas stop in for a tasting and to browse our selection. We’d love to help you get exactly what you need for your upcoming holiday dinner. We’re open Monday-Saturday from 11 AM to 6 PM and Sundays from 11 AM to 4 PM.