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3 Ways to Incorporate Olive Oil in Your Cooking

by | May 20, 2024 | Oil and Ghee | 0 comments

Olive oil, a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, is more than just a pantry staple. It’s a versatile ingredient with a rich history and a multitude of benefits for your health and cooking. But beyond its reputation as a salad dressing hero, olive oil offers a treasure trove of culinary applications waiting to be explored.

This guide delves into 3 unique ways to incorporate olive oil into your cooking, transforming it from a supporting player to the star of your dish.

Uses Of Olive Oil For Cooking & Beyond

1. The Flavor Powerhouse

Olive oil, particularly extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), boasts a range of flavours depending on the olive variety and pressing method. From grassy and peppery to buttery and fruity, EVOO adds a delightful depth and complexity to your dishes.

  • Drizzle and Dress: This is the simplest yet most impactful way to utilize EVOO. Drizzle a touch over cooked vegetables, pasta dishes, grilled meats, or even a simple bowl of steamed rice. The oil enhances the natural flavours of your ingredients and adds a touch of sophistication.
  • Infuse Aromatics: Infuse olive oil with garlic, rosemary, thyme, or other herbs by heating them gently in the oil. This creates a flavorful oil perfect for drizzling over roasted vegetables, crusty bread, or finishing soups and stews.
  • Marinades: Elevate your marinades by using olive oil as the base. Its healthy fats and subtle flavours help tenderize meats and seafood while adding a touch of richness. Pair it with herbs, spices, citrus juices, or vinegar for a punch of flavours.

2. The Power of High-Heat Cooking

Many people shy away from using olive oil for high-heat cooking due to misconceptions. While EVOO isn’t ideal for deep-frying, its high smoke point (around 325°F) allows for various high-heat applications.

  • Sautéing and Pan-frying: Extra virgin olive oil is perfect for sauteing vegetables, seafood, and chicken. Its high smoke point prevents burning while adding a light, savoury flavour to your dishes.
  • Searing: Heat olive oil in a pan until it shimmers. Sear meats like steaks or fish to create a beautiful caramelized crust while locking in moisture.
  • Stir-frying: Certain types of olive oil, like refined olive oil or light olive oil, have even higher smoke points (around 410°F), making them suitable for stir-frying Asian-inspired dishes.

3. Baking and Substitutes

Olive oil isn’t just for savoury dishes. Its richness and moisture-retaining properties make it a valuable asset in baking.

  • Substitute for Butter: In many recipes, you can replace some or all of the butter with olive oil. This adds a subtle fruity flavour and reduces the saturated fat content. Start by substituting ¾ cup of olive oil for 1 cup of butter.
  • Cakes and Muffins: Olive oil adds moisture and richness to cakes, muffins, and quick breads. Experiment with different varieties to find a flavour profile that complements your baked goods.
  • Crust Magic: Brush pizza or pie crusts with olive oil before baking for a golden-brown, flaky crust. The oil helps to prevent dryness and adds a touch of flavour.

Beyond the Kitchen

Olive oil’s versatility extends beyond cooking. Here are a few ways to incorporate it into your daily routine:

  • Natural Moisturizer: Olive oil’s moisturizing properties make it a natural alternative to chemical-laden lotions. Apply a small amount to dry cuticles or rough patches for a gentle and hydrating effect. Cold pressed Jojoba Oil is also a good alternative for moisturizing due to its soothing properties.
  • Hair Care: Warm a little olive oil and massage it into your scalp and hair for a deep conditioning treatment. Leave it on for 30 minutes before washing for softer, shinier hair.
  • Makeup Remover: Olive oil is a gentle makeup remover that can effectively remove eye makeup without harsh chemicals. Wood pressed Coconut Oil can also help with removing makeup. However, do a patch test on your arm first to check for any sensitivities.

From a simple drizzle to a culinary star, olive oil offers a world of possibilities. By incorporating olive oil into your cooking, you can unlock the full potential of this versatile ingredient and elevate your cooking to new heights. So, embrace the journey, experiment with confidence, and discover why olive oil deserves a place of honour in your kitchen!

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