Thursday, March 22, 2012
Since launching FoodPair we've examined hundreds of thousands of recipes and most of them use olive oil-- either for cooking or creating sauces and dressings. Until now, we never stopped to think about why we use so much olive oil in our cooking, what it does and which types of olive oil are best.
Let's start at the beginning. Olives are a fruit, but they're too bitter to be edible until they've been cured. That makes olive oil a fruit juice (even though it's not as refreshing as apple juice), created by pressing or mashing the olives. All olive oils are not the same, there are various types including extra virgin, virgin, pure and light. "Virgin" olive oils are extracted without chemicals, only mechanical means are used. This doesn't mean the olives are crushed using heavy mill stones, they can be spun in a centrifuge to separate the heavier from the lighter oils. "Extra Virgin" oils are tested to ensure superior taste and clarity. "Pure" and "light" olive oils can be extracted from the olives using chemicals as well as machines.
Now let's examine some of the myths and facts surrounding olive oil. First, you don't have to refrigerate extra virgin olive oil ("EVOO") for it to have a long shelf life. Second, cooking with olive oil does not destroy its health benefits. In fact, olive oils have a relatively high smoke point so they're great for sauteing and frying foods. Third, most "Italian" olive oil is not from Italy. It's often made in Spain then imported to Italy for packaging and distribution.
The good news is that olive oil is good for you. It's considered a good fat because it's high in monounsaturated fat instead of saturated fat. As a result it can help reduce blood pressure and even help you maintain a healthy weight.
To give you good examples of dishes using olive oil, we did what we love to do and used the FoodPair Recipe Search Engine to find delicious dishes using olive oil in unique ways.
Shallot and Grapefruit Dressing
Olive oil can be used to make all kinds of fantastic dressings.
Ingredients: Cilantro, Olive Oil, Shallot, Sugar, Black Pepper, Grapefruit Juice
Olive oil also helps make tasty marinades and sauces.
Ingredients: Garlic, Olive Oil, Dried Oregano, Parsley, Red Wine Vinegar, Black Pepper, Sea Salt, Red Pepper Flakes
Linguine with Garlic Oil and Pancetta
EVOO can also be flavored with garlic to add magic to pasta dishes.
Ingredients: Olive Oil, Garlic (to infuse the olive oil) Pancetta, Linguine
Olive Oil Gelato with Balsamic Strawberries
Olive oil can also flavor great desserts like gelato or cake.
Ingredients: Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Egg, Sugar, Heavy Cream, Milk, Strawberries
You probably have plenty of olive oil in your kitchen, so now it's time to start using it in new and delicious ways!
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Posted by FoodPair at 9:50 AM