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Cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Tips and Recipes

Cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Tips and Recipes

Best Uses in Cooking

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is a versatile ingredient that can enhance a wide variety of dishes. Its robust flavor and rich aroma make it ideal for use in dressings, marinades, and as a finishing oil. While EVOO has a lower smoke point compared to other oils, it can still be used for sautéing and baking with great results.

Salad Dressings and Marinades

EVOO is a perfect base for salad dressings and marinades. Its rich, fruity flavor complements a wide range of ingredients. Here are some simple recipes to get you started:

Classic Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together until well combined. Drizzle over your favorite salad greens and enjoy.

Lemon Herb Marinade

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, or oregano)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Use as a marinade for chicken, fish, or vegetables before grilling or roasting.

Sautéing and Cooking

While EVOO has a lower smoke point than other oils, it is still suitable for sautéing vegetables, fish, and meats at medium to medium-high heat. Here are a couple of easy recipes to try:

Garlic Sautéed Spinach

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the spinach and cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Pan-Seared Salmon

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salmon, skin-side down, and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the skin is crispy. Flip the fillets and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the salmon is just cooked through. Serve with lemon wedges.

Baking with EVOO

EVOO can be used as a substitute for butter or other oils in baking, adding moisture and a unique flavor to cakes, muffins, and breads. Here is a simple recipe to try:

Olive Oil Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9-inch round cake pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the EVOO, milk, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool before serving.

Expert Tips

Chef Laura Martinez says, "Using EVOO in salads and drizzling over finished dishes can elevate the flavor profile significantly. It’s also great for sautéing and baking, adding a rich taste and nutritional benefits to your meals."

For a detailed guide on selecting EVOO, read How to Choose the Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil: A Buyer’s Guide. Understand the different grades in Olive Oil Grades Explained and learn about the health benefits in Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Disclaimer: Some articles on this site mention various health benefits of extra virgin olive oils. Some of the benefits have been researched and some are from individual's personal experiences. In any case, these articles are not intended to act as a medical reference. If you are using, or are considering using olive oil for specific health related issues, you are advised to speak with your health care provider for advice pertaining to your situation. These articles are for educational purposes only.

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