Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The culinary applications for extra virgin olive are practically endless! It can be used for everything from sautéing and baking, to making vinaigrettes and marinades, to finishing pastas and veggies or as a simple bread dipper.
Olive oils are characterized as mild, medium or bold and different types complement different types of food. A mild oil typically has a smooth, buttery taste with no bitterness and a slightly peppery finish. It is ideal for baking and as a substitute for butter or mayonnaise. Mild oils also go well with lighter flavors like a delicate white fish. Medium intensity oils are often fruity with a grassy nose and a spicy finish. They are delicious with cheese, in a salad vinaigrette, drizzled over vegetables or used for bread dipping. A bold oil offers robust flavor with balanced bitterness and a peppery finish. It is best used for cooking meats and seafood, in a marinade or with robust flavors like peppers and garlic.
Our infused and fused oils are extra virgin olive oils that have natural ingredients such as herbs, herb blends, garlic, chile peppers or citrus added to the oil. Their use is similar to single varietal extra virgin olive oils.
Here are some of our favorite ways to use extra virgin olive oils and infused/fused oils:
- Use alone on salads or pair with a vinegar for a delicious dressing. We recommend starting with two parts oil to one part vinegar, then adjust to your own taste.
- Toss with hot pasta or rice.
- Mix into mash potatoes.
- Sauté vegetables.
- Pair with a vinegar for a beef, pork or poultry marinade.
- Make a bread dipper with fresh herbs, garlic and a pinch of Parmesan cheese.
- Use in a sauce or gravy.
- Substitute for melted butter in baking and other recipes.
- Drizzle over meats, poultry and veggies as a finishing oil.
- Make bruschetta or crostini.
There has been much discussion about whether or not you can use extra virgin olive oil for cooking at high temperatures. You absolutely can! Fresh, high quality olive oil with good chemistry (low free fatty acids) has a high smoke point between 375 and 410°. It also contains phenols which reduce and even prevent the formation of aldehydes – a toxin that is released when any cooking oil is heated for a long duration at high temperatures. Although it will lose some flavor and antioxidant content at high temperatures, it still contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. So we believe you can and should cook with extra virgin olive oil for any culinary application.
Many of the balsamic vinegars found in the grocery store are made from red wine vinegar and “doctored” with caramel coloring and flavor to mimic an authentic, aged vinegar from Modena, Italy. The difference is remarkable in that a true balsamic is sweet, rich, complex and slightly syrupy. It adds a bold flavor and depth to many dishes and only contains 10 - 15 calories per tablespoon!
Here are some tips for cooking with our Traditional Balsamic Condimento and infused balsamic vinegars:
- Use alone on salads or combine with an extra virgin olive oil for a tasty vinaigrette or marinade. We recommend starting with two parts oil to one part vinegar, then adjust to your own taste.
- Drizzle over cheese.
- Add to soups, stews and sauces for a hint of sweetness.
- Drizzle over fresh fruit, ice cream and baked sweets like brownies.
- Swirl into Greek yogurt or cottage cheese for an easy snack.
- Make a glaze by slowly boiling on the stove until reduced by half. Use as a finishing sauce for meat, seafood, vegetables - just about anything!
- Add a drizzle to extra virgin olive oil for a delicious bread dipper.
- Always use a non-reactive bowl or pan when preparing balsamic vinegar.