Thursday, May 15, 2008

Olive oil primer

Simple and healthy, yet delicious. What could be better?

Last night's dinner was some sauted frozen organic spinach, tossed with some heated leftover spaghetti. Then just drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle on some shredded Roman cheese, grind on a bit of red pepper, and enjoy.

Two things I have found over the years. All olive oil isn't the same. I have been using an extra virgin oil from Sicily that tastes really delicious. Try different ones to find what you like. Also, a trick to using extra virgin, is to add it at the end of cooking. Just drizzle it on to add flavor to your dish. It gives more bang for the buck that way. The Mrs uses very little to cook with as we use Todd English's Green Pans, then adds oil at the end. A side note on cookware. Green Pans are the newest nonstick cookware. We use them because they can endure higher heat without the breakdown associated with Teflon. They also do not chip like Teflon.

Here's the differences in oils (occasionally, one may find some slight variations as some terms are stil not fully defined)

Extra virgin--the best and most flavorful. It is fruity, and from the first pressing. Usually a dark, rich color, with a pleasing aroma. It is generally from what is known as the first pressing, and about all that is done to it is the olive is washed and the oil is filtered.

Virgin olive oil--Little difference between this and extra virgin. It can be a blend from different regions

Olive oil--Usually made from lower quality oils, and is more highly refined and filtered, sometimes through charcoal. Not very flavorful, and can be used for deep frying or other applications where the oil flavor is not that important.

Lite or Light Olive Oil--I am reminded of an old Our Gang short, where the kids made lemonade by dipping fresh lemons in water.

Blended olive oil--dreck

Olive Oyl--Popeye's girlfriend



shyne said...

I find olive oil too overpowering for some flavors so, in those cases, I use the light.

Azure Islands Designs said...

Thanks for the tips...sadly I'm not much of a cook!!! H

Azure Islands Designs said...

I just left the previous post but that was before I read the rest of your blog as well as your other blogs...I very much enjoyed the reads...have bookmarked for future reading...H

Babchi said...

Who knew that olive oil could make me want to cook? (just kidding). I do love it but I do hate to cook!

schmuckraker said...

I went to an Italian restaurant the other night.. asked for oil and vinegar dressing for my anti pasta.. And what did I get? .. some type of oil and vinegar. I sent it back and just ate the salad dry.
I have a good feeling, and I could very well be wrong, but I have a good feeling that the olive oil was actually vegetable oil. really. It tasted just that bad

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