Your guide to cooking with olive oil
As originally featured in Gourmet Life.
Once you’ve found a good quality olive oil, it’s time to start using it.
Not only is olive oil a wonderful agent for carrying the flavour of foods and spices, it is anti-inflammatory, high in antioxidants and brings depth to the appetite. It enhances both sweet and savoury dishes and can be used uncooked or cooked.
Generally, virgin and extra-virgin oils are best used uncooked or cooked at low to medium temperatures. While refined and olive oil grade oils are the choices for high-heat uses, such as frying and baking. Olive oil has a higher smoke point than most other oils 190 degrees C (or about 400 degrees F) so always be mindful of this when cooking.
Our Tips for Cooking with Olive Oil
Olive oil also balances the acidity in high-acid foods such as tomatoes, wine and meat. Some easy ways to include it are by:
Drizzling it over salad or as a salad dressing
Drizzling it over pasta or vegetables dishes
Adding at the end of cooking for a burst of flavour
Using it in a marinade or sauce for your meat dishes
Substituting it for butter or margarine as a dip or spread with your bread and crackers
Mixing it into your dips
Baking with Olive Oil
Baking with olive oil is a great way reduce fat in cooking, especially in savoury breads and sweets. Be sure to choose a light or mild type of olive oil for baking as they withstand high-heat cooking methods much more because of the filtration it’s gone through. The product still turns out as expected, but with 25 percent less fat, lower cholesterol, fewer calories, and more nutrients.
Frying with Olive Oil
Similarly to baking, light olive oil is bestas it has a high smoking point due to its filtration process, meaning you can make it pretty hot. If you're going to deep fry, light refined olive oil is a good way to go.
While olive oil is best known for its uses in cooking, many don’t know it’s also great for massage. Apply it to your skin to create warmth and reduce any dryness, body aches and pains. Read all about the benefits of self-abhyanga here.