Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Olive Oil Can Be Found Where You Least Expect It

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about olive oil? Is it bread dipping or maybe salad dressings? If you step away from the obvious and give it a bit more thought, you will realize this liquid gold can be in all sorts of other dishes. It’s at the heart of Mediterranean cooking and is featured in recipe books all over the Mediterranean Basin.

Olive oil brings out flavors and adds subtle nuances. It also helps to preserve food. Fish, meat, vegetables… a vast world where olive oil plays a key role, even though we might not notice at first.

Marinating steaks in olive oil with garlic, salt, oregano, paprika and a dash of vinegar. You can try preserving cheese or dried tomatoes in olive oil. Or work it into dishes such as salmorejo, pesto, mayonnaise and humus. Don’t forget homemade semi-preserved vegetables that are always within easy reach in the fridge. Olive oil has such versatile uses in Mediterranean cooking that it is impossible to imagine their diet without it.
Olive OIl Uses

Sweet dishes might not spring to mind as readily, but who said you can’t replace the butter in a homemade sponge cake with olive oil? Food writer José Oneto revealed how to use olive oil for cooking delicious sweet treats in his book El aceite de oliva virgen extra en la repostería de ayer y de hoy [Extra Virgin Olive Oil in Yesterday and Today’s Cakes], which features desserts such as crème caramel, rice pudding, sponge cakes and biscuits.

Olive oil can have hidden flavors such as apple or almond that you can use to highlight a more rich and sweet recipe. But we can also use it in jellies and even ice cream! Ice cream can be the perfect complement to savoury dishes. Wonderful ice creams leave Fernando Sáenz’s ice cream workshop, Obrador Grate in Viana, Navarra, for leading haute cuisine restaurants and his ice cream shop Della Sera in Logroño. For example, his Lemon Cream with olive oil from Alfaro is a fresh original idea that takes olive oil to a place you’d never imagine.

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