I love Italian cuisine and cook a fair bit of Italian food at home. One of the ingredients that I use religiously is good quality olive oil. Generally, I buy the Italian ones that are available. For my salads, stir frying, pasta recipes and sometimes marinating meat, extra virgin olive oil is the best. All of us know that olive oil is healthy for you. Extra virgin olive oil is different from regular oil in how it is extracted.
What is extra virgin olive oil?
This is the highest quality olive oil and has a sharp and intense olive flavour along with a deep colour. It is produced by cold pressing of olives. Cold pressing is a method which does not involve any chemicals. Extra virgin olive oil as the name implies is the oil produced from the first pressing of. Due to its strong fruity and bitter flavour, extra virgin olive oil is lovely to use in salads, on garlic breads, stir fries and even bread dips. I was treated to some amazing olive oil on the winery and olive orchard visits in Italy.
Benefits of extra virgin olive oil:
All olive oil has a good amount of fat-soluble Vitamin E. It is an excellent source of polyphenol antioxidants. It is very high in monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat and hence it is good for heart health.
How to cook with Extra virgin olive oil?
I generally avoid deep frying in olive oil. But otherwise, extra virgin olive oil is extensively used in my home for the following:
Make Stir fries:
You will be surprised with how tasty and nutritious the veggies become when stir fried in extra virgin olive oil with basics like garlic, chilli flakes, salt and some herbs.
You can make delicious pesto with extra virgin olive oil (evoo). Even a simple sauce of extra-virgin olive oil with garlic and chilli flakes is excellent to toss your pasta in and serve with some cheese and grilled cherry tomatoes.
This is my favourite way of using extra virgin olive oil. For an evoo vinaigrette I use evoo, balsamic or apple cider vinegar, honey, salt and some herbs. It is super tasty and wonderful with any veggies or greens of your choice.
Marinade for meats:
Use extra virgin olive oil with garlic, pepper, herbs and salt as a marinade for chicken, fish or any other meat. It is delicious with the flavours of the meat and evoo shining through.
Extra virgin olive oil is tasty in cold soups like gazpacho. You can also drizzle it on top of garlic bread for extra flavour.
Hope you liked reading about extra virgin olive oil and will include this wonderful oil in your daily diet.
This is a post for the #AtoZChallenge all of April. I will be sharing easy recipes, tips and tricks related to food all this month. Do stay tuned in.
Read all my posts in A to Z challenge here.
All pics except 3 and 7 courtesy: By carlosdelacalle, DUSAN ZIDAR, Milenie, Kerdkanno and Pixel-Shot on Shutterstock