Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Which Olive Oils to Use

Our Current Selection of Olive Oils
"If you have the time or the interest would you blog about the type and brands of olive oil and wine you use when you are cooking? I am always uncertain about what I am using and would appreciate your knowledge."
Thanks.
        ---Jane


Well, I am not an authority, but I can share what we do.

In general, we keep four types of olive oil in the pantry:  a basic olive oil (about $7.99) and extra virgin (about $9.99), then a $14.99-$24.99 high quality extra virgin bottle, and a top quality extra virgin ($49.00).   We tend to use Italian or Napa valley olive oils, but sometimes we use Greek.

Also, I buy the smaller 500 ml bottle size, so that our olive oils stay fresh.  They should be stored away from light in a cool cupboard away from the heat of the stove.    

Feast Everyday Guide to Using Olive Oil
Sautéing - Heat kills the flavor and aroma of the Extra Virgin oils, so don't waste your expensive stuff in cooking.  Just use your inexpensive grocery store Olive Oil.  We use Filippo Berio.

Roasting -  Use inexpensive grocery store Extra Virgin.  Again we use Filippo Berio.

Prepping for Grilling-- Use the least expensive or whatever you have on hand. The flavor will be burnt off. The oil is being used to crisp the outside and keep food from sticking. But, if the food--veggies in particular --is going to be wrapped in aluminum foil, then use grocery store Extra Virgin.

Salad dressings-- depends on what kind your are making: 
  • When there other strong flavors in play, use your grocery store extra virgin.
  • If it's only oil and vinegar, use one of your best extra virgin and let the olive taste shine through.
Drizzling -- Time to use your best: Lucini from Italy or Long Meadow Ranch from Napa Valley. 

Dipping -- Use your very best, like Prato Lungo.  We buy special bottles based on recommendations, like you would with wine.  For example, we bought a bottle from the olive oil section when we were at Eataly in NYC.

Baking -- Use canola, or the flavorless version of olive oil which is available in most grocery stores.

Frying - Use something like a canola, soy or peanut oil, i.e., a cheap, flavorless oil that has a high smoke point.

When in doubt, taste and trust your instincts.  Use it to compliment or enhance the flavors of what you are making. 

There is only one no-no in using olive oil.  Don't waste the extra virgin olive oil in situations with heat, like sauteing.

I hope this is helpful, Jane.

B


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