How to Pick and Use Olive Oil
Olive oil is already a darling in health circles and we all know about how good the Mediterranean (Spain, Greece, Italy) people have it with their diets rich in Olive oil and fish, perfect climate, gorgeous beaches and great health. And yes, you guessed it - countless studies have also recognised and highlighted the tremendous health benefits that we can derive from Olive oil. Here is one study via Science Daily that talks about the antioxidant properties of Olive oil that combat degenerative diseases such as cancer. While you can cook just about anything with Olive oil, here are a few recipes that bring out the delicious Olive oil flavour through ingredients that compliment it.
But first here's a quick look at what to look for when buying Olive oil?
Stay away from:
1)Refined Olive oil – poor quality virgin oil which has to be refined in order to make it edible
2)Olive Pomace oil – extracted from olive solids leftover from pressing and is mainly used in olive oil based soaps
3)Blended olive oil – usually blended with some other vegetable oil.
Extra virgin olive oil is the one to look out for but just because it says extra virgin on the bottle does not make it good. You’d rather spend on an expensive bottle from a reputed brand and use it sparingly rather than buy a cheaper oil.
Fun with Olive Oil (3 delicious salad dressings)
Toss this with some fresh lettuce, aragula, baby tomatoes, walnuts, sprouts, grilled chicken and any of your favourite salad ingredients.
Balsamic Vinaigrette: Although this makes a great, simple salad dressing, it is equally delicious when drizzled on steamed vegetables.
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Method: In a container with a tight lid, combine all the ingredients. Shake until all ingredients are combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Basil Vinaigrette: This salad is especially tasty when paired with an Italian-themed salad laden with fresh mozzarella and ripe tomatoes.
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil (it’s very important here to use fresh – it’s not nearly as good with dried leaves!)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Method: In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, basil, and garlic. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Parsley Dressing: Try this flavorful dressing on a salad of mixed greens or other mild-flavored salad combination.
3 tsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp onion powder
2 tsp chopped parsley
Method: In a bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice and onion powder. Once combined, add in the chopped parsley, mix thoroughly with a whisk and serve.