Olive Oil

Olive oil

What can I say. You can’t cook without it.  A good quality olive oil is the foundation of great meals.

I usually have two different bottles on hand. One for everyday cooking with heat and one for drizzle and dressings.  Both should be great quality but let’s face it, I’m not going to use a $30 bottle of olive oil to saute vegetables!

Olive oil comes to us primarily from Spain, Italy and Greece.  There are subtle differences in flavor and the best thing to do is taste them side by side.  William-Sonoma often has a tasting out.  I prefer Spanish brands. I find that they are a little more green and earthy which is something I like in my cooking.  Others swear by Italian brands for bread dipping and salad dressings.  Experiment!  Know the difference. This is one ingredient that has the ability to change the quality of your cooking simply by choosing the right brand!

Don’t be afraid to splurge a little. In the past, I’ve had such a hard time reaching for that 15-20 dollar bottle but I am never disappointed by the flavor and I’ve come to the conclusion that buying quality can change you as a cook.  Don’t worry if it’s not in your budget to splurge.  There are many supermarket brands that are good solid choices.  One note: Always buy extra virgin olive oil!

Whether you’re an experienced cook, or a newbie in the kitchen, chances are you’ve used olive oil in a recipe. Although a long time staple in many kitchens it’s just over the last few years this particular oil has come to the front line of cooking, making its’ appearance in many kitchens as well as our weekly Fresh 20 menus.

Olive oils are created by a cold pressing method that releases oils from the olives. Extra virgin and pure olive oils refer to the first and second pressing of the fruit to obtain their juices.

In your Fresh 20 menus you’ll find that olive oil is used in a variety of ways; marinades, vinaigrette and pestos are just a few. It can also be brushed onto meats and vegetables before cooking or grilling.

As when buying any ingredient for cooking, buy the best that your budget will allow. Look for olive oil that is in a tightly sealed, tinted bottle. The Fresh 20 recommends New Greek Cuisine Olive Oil.