There’s plenty of truth in claiming the mediterranean diet is among the healthiest in the world, and extra virgin olive oil certainly is one of the pillars on which the claim stands. Its active components protect our organism’s cells and slow down their ageing process, while strengthening our resistance to free radicals. When properly produced and stored – remember, the enemies are light, air and heat – it is also rich in antioxidants, vitamins E, K and beneficial fatty acids.
A kitchen without EVOO is no Italian kitchen. One wouldn’t miss the target that much saying that a recipe isn’t mediterranean without it, too. The applications on food are so vast and varied that from the outside, it looks more like fanaticism. But taste clears out all doubts: there’s few ingredients that don’t pair well with EVOO.
Soups, pasta, vegetables and salads, fresh cheeses, risotto, grilled meat, raw fish…used as an ingredient in all kind of pesto, in sauces, dips or to marinate foods. Beware: each olive oil – we’re keeping the name short here but NEVER buy anything that isn’t EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil – is different depending on where it is produced and what kind of olive it is made with (the “cultivar”). It follows that food pairing too is something to carefully consider, to make the most of it: the strongest, most bitter ones – like the strong and spicy ones from Puglia or Sicily, for instance – work best with meats, brisket or on a bean soup. Overall, on strong flavours. A gentle, more subtle one from Liguria instead would be perfect for seafood dishes and vegetables.
Bearing these simple rules in mind – if you want to know more about the plant, how to choose quality EVOO and how to store check out what we wrote here – and never overdoing it (translation: food swims in EVOO only when marinated or preserved…), there’s plenty of space for experimentation. If you need tips to kickoff well, just check out our recipes to discover how often EVOO is among the ingredients…