Generally speaking, “olive oil” is simply the oil that’s obtained from the fruit of olive trees. In itself, that sounds pretty simple and straightforward.
But there are different varieties of olive oil that are set apart not by the type of olive that’s used, but the process used to extract the oil, as well as by the additives, and the oil’s level of free oleic acid.
Extra virgin olive oil For Cooking is made with the highest-quality olive you can buy. There are very specific standards oil has to meet to receive the label “extra-virgin.” Because of the way extra-virgin olive oil is made, it retains truer olive taste and has a lower level of oleic acid than other olive oil varieties. It also contains more of the natural vitamins and minerals found in olives.
Fats in the diet are highly controversial. You’ll see people arguing about animal fats, seed oils and almost everything in between. But one of the few fats that most people agree is healthy extra virgin olive oil.
The research says eating 2 tablespoons of olive oil a day may reduce the risk of heart disease, due to its monounsaturated fat content. Extra virgin olive oil also contains polyphenols which act as antioxidants, reducing the oxidative stress throughout your body. A small amount of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are also present in extra virgin olive oil, which is essential for brain health. Vitamin E (also known as tocopherols), which is great for skin health, is also found in extra virgin olive oil.
5 Ways to Cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil:
Drizzling it over salads is not the only way to incorporate extra virgin olive oil into your diet.
Let’s face it, sometimes salads need a little help to make them soar, and casually whipping up a fantastic homemade dressing is the foodie equivalent of a superpower. It’s criminally easy. Beloved of the ancients, it’s still common Greek practice to serve a classic salad of tomato and feta dressed in nothing but good extra virgin olive oil, sometimes with a wedge of lemon.
Whether you’re roasting vegetables, meat or fish, extra virgin olive oil results in a roast with the most. Try slow roasting a punned of halved cherry tomatoes in a low-heat oven; armed with nothing more than extra virgin olive oil, cracked pepper, and salt – you’ll be amazed at their transformation into red, juicy flavor bombs. So many delectable options, so little preparation required.
Yes, frying. It’s a misconception that extra virgin can’t be used for deep-frying. The smoke point will be low in a poor-quality extra virgin olive oil, but with high-quality extra virgin olive oil, there will be no problems deep-frying is not unusual in the Mediterranean. Extremely high-temperature cooking, say in a really high-temperature wok, is the only example where it’s not ideal.
Extra virgin olive oil is an excellent substitute for butter in baking cakes, pies, puddings, bread, and biscuits all emerge from the oven moist and delicious. While the not exactly virtuous cake is, after all, still cake extra virgin olive oil is also hands-down healthier.
Extra virgin olive oil makes a superb base ingredient in countless marinades for meat and seafood. Flavorful on its own, it also helps draw out companion ingredients. The great all-rounder, extra virgin olive oil blossoms in any culinary ensemble cast.