Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is a staple in many kitchens around the world. It's a healthy fat that's packed with antioxidants and has been shown to improve heart health, reduce inflammation, and even lower the risk of chronic diseases. But did you know that EVOO is not just for drizzling over salads or dipping bread into? It can also be used for cooking a wide variety of dishes. Here's the ultimate guide to cooking with extra virgin olive oil.
- Choose the right type of EVOO
Not all EVOOs are created equal. When it comes to cooking, it's important to choose a high-quality EVOO with a high smoke point. The smoke point is the temperature at which the oil begins to smoke and break down, causing it to lose its flavor and nutritional value. Look for an EVOO with a smoke point of at least 400°F. Additionally, choose an EVOO with a fruity taste and low acidity level, which indicates a high-quality oil.
- Use it for sautéing and frying
EVOO is perfect for sautéing and frying. It's a healthy alternative to vegetable oils and butter, which can contain harmful trans fats. When using EVOO for sautéing, preheat the pan and add the oil just before adding the ingredients. This will prevent the oil from overheating and smoking. When frying, use a deep pot with enough oil to cover the food, and heat the oil to the desired temperature before adding the food.
- Make a marinade
EVOO is a great base for marinades. It's packed with flavor and can be combined with herbs, spices, and other ingredients to create a delicious marinade for meats, fish, and vegetables. To make a simple EVOO marinade, combine EVOO with garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Marinate the food for at least an hour before cooking for maximum flavor.
- Use it in baking
EVOO can also be used in baking, especially for savory dishes such as bread and muffins. It adds a unique flavor and a healthy twist to traditional baked goods. When using EVOO in baking, replace the butter or vegetable oil in the recipe with an equal amount of EVOO. Be sure to choose a mild EVOO that won't overpower the other ingredients.
- Finish dishes with EVOO
EVOO can be used as a finishing oil to add flavor and depth to a dish. Drizzle it over soups, pasta, and roasted vegetables for an extra burst of flavor. Use it to top off pizzas or grilled meats for a delicious finishing touch. Additionally, EVOO can be used as a condiment, served alongside bread for dipping.
In conclusion, EVOO is not just for salads and dipping bread into. It's a versatile ingredient that can be used for sautéing, frying, marinating, baking, and finishing dishes. When cooking with EVOO, choose a high-quality oil with a high smoke point and a fruity taste. Use it as a healthy alternative to vegetable oils and butter, and experiment with different recipes and cooking techniques to discover new and delicious ways to incorporate EVOO into your cooking.