Olive Oil / How to Cooking
It is possible to
make excellent infused oil at home using dried wild herbs. The intensity of the
flavor varies with the season, whether the herbs are wild or domestic, how the
local growing conditions have been, etc.
It takes a lot of
trial and error. It is more art than science and the people who are good at it
are reluctant to share their trade secrets.
The oil will pick up
the flavor fairly quickly, in the first few weeks, and then slowly intensify.
It is fine to leave the herbs in for a long time;
Look at some recipes
for dressing and substitute the dried herbs for any fresh herbs called for in
Flavored olive oils
and dressings make great gifts but watch out; there are safe and unsafe ways to make infused olive oil. The unsafe way is to put
anything in the oil that contains any trace of water or moisture
That would include
garlic, lemon peel, fresh peppers, fresh herbs and spices.
Botulism bacteria can grow in this type
of environment, even in a
sealed bottle. There are several things you can do to avoid this problem.
This is the best way if you
are using fresh ingredients such as fresh basil, fresh rosemary or garlic and
Garlic is ideal for adding to
pasta dishes, that you can then top with a little grated dry cheese. Fill a
decorative 1-liter bottle with extra virgin olive oil.
Add a clean head of garlic
(whole if desired), and leave to marinade for a few days. You can also use
lemon peel, fresh or dried peppers, ginger, rosemary sprigs, etc.
Whole sprigs of
thyme, rosemary, dried peppers, etc. can decorate the inside of the bottle this
Cooking With Olive Oil
Most importantly, the main difference between using olive oil as opposed
to refined vegetable oils is its aroma and taste. Olive oil is not just a
it is an ingredient that can add depth and flavor and enhance the more
traditional tastes of the dishes you love. No other oil can match the
organoleptic complexity of olive oil and the thousands of varieties that carry
their own unique flavor characteristics.
Since heat is such an integral part
of cooking, yet is also one of the factors that can lower the quality of an
many people assume that applying heat to olive
oil in cooking applications such as shallow and deep frying, stir-frying or sautéing,
is a combination that should be avoided.
This is a myth.
Heating an extra virgin olive oil to frying temperature
does not hurt or substantially alter the chemical composition of the oil if
kept below the smoke point, and is still very good for you due to their
polyphenol content and high levels of oleic acid which is very stable and does
not easily oxidize.
The smoke point of a true extra virgin olive oil is 410°F,
well above the 350-375°F that is required for most frying. If the olive oil is
higher in acidity and/or contains impurities (often representative of lower
grade, mass produced oils), the smoke point can lower some 50°F. That
said, you should always fry foods with a high-quality olive oil and should
avoid mixing it with other types of oils.
Frying often? Consider shopping for high volume bottles and tins;
To properly fry with extra virgin
olive oil without destabilization, first heat the oil in a heavy pot or pan to
the suggested temperature by using an oil thermometer (sometimes called deep
Starting at the burner’s medium
setting will allow you to raise it little-by-little until you achieve the right
temperature. Adding the food to the pot or pan after the oil is fully heated
will prevent the food from absorbing too much oil and becoming soggy.
Deep Frying tip: Though the added
flavor will be best when frying the first time, reusing a large pot of olive
oil 4-5 times is still safe and flavorful (and not to mention cost-effective)
if doing so within a short time-frame and if properly strained after each use.
Frying with olive oil has been a standard
practice in the Mediterranean diet for centuries. Try shallow frying eggs,
sliced potatoes or fish in extra virgin olive oil and you will be amazed by the
We have seen smoke
flavoring added to an herb or peppers added to any one of the herbs. When
mixing herbs, think salad dressing.
The oil will not support
bacterial growth but the water containing herbs will.
1. Mix all the ingredients, refrigerate them and use
them within a week:
The vinegar solutions used
commercially are up to 4 times stronger than the vinegar you find in the
supermarket. You can find them at
commercial food supply outlets. Many of the herb mixes have both salt and
vinegar which both prevent bacterial growth. Commercial
vinaigrette's and sauces also have chemical preservatives not usually
available to the home cook.
This can be done with a food
dehydrator or just by leaving in the sun. After the spices and herbs are dry,
you can add them to the olive oil.
benefits of olive oil make it an
extremely attractive ingredient to use for cooking. Packed with polyphenols,
amino acids and healthy monounsaturated fats, olive oil can be a key factor to not only
establishing a balanced diet, but to add depth and flavor to food.
Whenever we refer to olive oil, we always mean extra virgin. Every
producer we carry has worked for years - many for decades - to micromanage
their crop and produce the highest quality olive oils on the planet. To them
and us, it’s not worth it if it’s not extra virgin.
Frying With Olive Oil
The alternatives - i.e. canola, soybean and corn oils -
are significantly less stable, contain little to zero polyphenols and can break
down into dangerous, toxic byproducts at high temperatures due to accelerated oxidation. Olive
oil, coconut oil and palm oil are the most stable of all fats when heated.
Grilling With Olive Oil
1, Eventually all the
flavor leaves the herbs and the oil flavor stabilizes. Most oil sellers keep it
simple and use one herb at a time.
2. Preserve the added ingredients:
Maybe you have seen garlic or herbs mixed with oil. The way it is done
commercially is to first preserve the water-containing garlic, herb, etc. with
a strong brine or vinegar solution, then put it in the oil.
3. Dry the herbs to remove all water, leaving
the essential oils:
When summer hits and the grills come
out, so do all the wonderful marinades and sauces that make grilled foods so
Extra virgin olive oil has endless
potential to boost the flavor of grilled foods and can neutralize harmful
carcinogenic substances thanks to its high antioxidant levels. Robust oils,
pair wonderfully with grilled meats,
while the milder olive oils from CALIFORNIA and Southern CALIFORNIA are ideal for lighter
grilled foods like fish.
A flavorful EVOO can also replace
butter for grilled favorites like corn on the cob, portabella mushrooms,
potatoes, onions and shrimp.
As previously noted, Peranzana and Arbequina
are the most similar olive oil varieties to butter with their sweeter,
more delicate flavor profiles.
How To Use Olive Oil With
Extra virgin olive oil is a perfect
companion for meats given its peppery qualities. Whether sautéing chicken or
dressing a steak, olive oil will bolster the rich, mesquite flavors we know and
love. Finishing red meats with a robust olive oil can make a world of difference
for a food that is already so rich in flavor.
Try drizzling MORAIOLO or PICUAL variety
olive oil on steak, lamb and pork for a flavor explosion. For poultry, sauteing
chicken or duck in olive oil can crisp the edges and lock in flavor. For lighter
meats, try using the MISSION variety from California or a ROSEMARY-INFUSE
Extra virgin olive oil and fish are
staples of the Mediterranean diet. Many varieties of extra virgin olive oil
work well with fish, but the more delicate the better. We recommend KORONEIKI from
CALIFORNIA,ARBEQUINA from CALIFORNIA
Nothing complements a delicious bowl
of pasta more than a flavorful extra virgin olive oil - a concept as old as
Italian cuisine itself - and a PREMIUM EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL will do just the trick. An obvious
choice for pesto, another excellent way to use extra virgin olive oil with
pasta is as a finishing oil, lightly drizzled over the final dish just before
serving, to experience a gourmet restaurant taste right at home in your own
kitchen. In fact, an oil packed with fruitiness and pungency provides enough
flavor for simply dressing freshly cooked pasta noodles with nothing more than Parmesan cheese and freshly cracked pepper.
soups - including chowders, bisques and stews - are perfect for garnishing with
olive oil. Not only does it intensify the flavors but it also adds a little
pizzazz since the oil usually floats in mini green puddles on the top of the
A section about olive oils and vegetables is a bit silly given it’s the
oldest combination in the book. The most common use for olive oil is to drizzle
it on salads. Sounds easy enough, but it’s worth mentioning that specific
varieties work differently with different types of salads. Greek olive oil
works well on Greek salads of tomato, cucumber and feta cheese, while robust
Italian oils work well on bitter greens such as arugula, endive or broccoli
If grilling, lightly coat the vegetables before grilling to prevent
sticking and then drizzle with your favorite oil once ready to eat.
Olive oils are rarely touted for their strengths
with fruits (minus the “fruit or vegetable” argument for tomatoes and
cucumbers), but there is one tried and true strength. Fruit salad, when dressed
in Koroneiki or the more obvious Orange-Infuse olive oil, works
quite well and enhances and harmonizes the sweetness of the dish.
An excellent flavor combination common in the Mediterranean diet is that
of extra virgin olive oil and protein-rich pulses, also known as legumes.
Common pulses such as black eyed peas, chickpeas, lentils and broad beans can
be significantly elevated in flavor by simply dressing the cooked legume of
choice with a fruity extra virgin olive oil and light balsamic.
Snacks & Desserts
The most common olive oil snack is simple: bread and EVOO. Many people
learn the flavor complexities of olive oil through dipping, and it sure makes
for an easy appetizer for any gathering. However, there are other less common
ways to snack with olive oil that are worth exploring.
Drizzling olive oil on popcorn,for instance, is an
undervalued delicacy. The peppery qualities of olive oil do wonders for plain,
white popcorn, especially for smackers who prefer to stay away from butter.
Peranzana and Arbequina variety olive oils are perfect for those searching for
a flavor enhancer or butter replacement, while the Picual variety serves well to sophisticated
palates unafraid of bitter qualities.
Also intriguing and gaining in popularity is
drizzling olive oil on ice cream. Yes… ICE CREAM. Try the Taggiasca or Picholine varieties
over your next bowl of vanilla frozen yogurt, ice cream or sorbet.
“Olive oil and alcohol? Are
you crazy?!” is the average shock response we get to the idea of combining the
two. Mixologists around the country have included olive oil in special martinis
and Bloody Mary,and some have even created completely new concoctions