Thanks to the fantastic recipes of our friend and chef José Cortes, we have discovered in our gourmet section a few techniques in which extra virgin olive oil is the key ingredient. We have no doubt most food lovers look for creative ways to use quality products to prepare their dishes, but what is certain is that every day we are more impressed by discovering the extraordinary versatility of oil – the liquid gold that is so important for us and for Mediterranean cuisine. Therefore, today we are going to talk about all of the cooking techniques and applications olive oil has, some of which may even surprise you:
12 applications and uses of extra virgin olive oil:
- Sauté and fry lightly.
- Deep fry.
- Bake or grill.
The use of extra virgin olive oil with which we dress salads by mixing it with spices, condiments, salt and pepper is a classic. This type cold technique guarantees the conservation of all the organoleptic and healthy properties of the olive oil, including its fragrant and flavoring features, providing the most intense flavor available in the extra virgin olive oil you use. The dressing par excellence is the vinaigrette.
An emulsion is the union of two ingredients that may seem incompatible, but when they are homogeneously mixed they become a a sauce with an incredible texture and incomparable flavor. By using the Arbequina extra virgin olive oil variety you will get a more subtle fragrance that won’t mask the unique flavor of the other ingredient you use for your emulsion. The most traditional emulsions in our kitchen are mayonnaise, salmorejo, ajo blanco and, of course, our aioli.
With the aim of prolonging the life of some the foods, in gastronomic history there have been different ways of getting preserves. Adding salt has been one of those traditional ways, but also adding extra virgin olive oil. Canned in an extra virgin olive oil makes products such as cheese, fish, cooked meat, etc. stay in good condition for longer without losing quality. This is because this olive oil, unlike others, is more beneficial for health.
Smoking is a technique in which you need to create a smoke and cover certain foods so that they are impregnated with it and thus provide a different color and aroma. In addition to intensifying the flavor of the food, you can add more character not only with extra virgin olive oil, but also with aromatic herbs. You can learn a little more with this recipe for olive oil coca with escalivada and smoked sardines.
5. Sauté and fry lightly.
Extra virgin olive oil, as we have already mentioned, is one of the best, if not the best fat you can cook with. Since it contains multiple antioxidants, its healthy properties resist high temperatures, which is why it is ideal in culinary preparations in which it is necessary to braise or sauté.
These are similar. Both need extra virgin olive oil but, while sautéing food requires a higher temperature and less time, frying lightly implies just the opposite, that is, cooking for a long time at low heat. In both cases, the amount of oil used is low compared to the following technique:
6. Deep fry.
As you probably already know, deep-frying with extra virgin olive oil involves immersing the food in it at a very high temperature. Classic French fries or tempura vegetables and seafood are delicious and healthier if this oil is used instead of another fatty product.
7. Bake or grill.
Both for roasting foods with seasoning in the oven, and for marinating and preparing them on the grill, extra virgin olive oil is once again the star fat ingredient. Not only can it provide a greater flavor, but its oxidation will be less at high temperature, preserving more organoleptic properties than other fats.
To achieve a smoother and more gelatinous texture of some foods, such as some beef, but also fish and vegetables, confit with extra virgin olive oil and some aromatic herbs can give rise to products with an incomparable flavor. In these cases, patience is essential, since confit consists of cooking at a very low temperature for a long time.
On the other hand, the same extra virgin olive oil can also be preserved or infused to flavor it with herbs, spices, or other products such as jalapeños, and then let the oil temper and use it in other gastronomic preparations, as explained in this shrimp carpaccio gourmet recipe.
Extra virgin olive oil sorbet is really easy to make. You only need to freeze the olive oil which, in the cold of the freezer, will coagulate. This provides a unique and very interesting texture that can be used in special occasion dishes and even desserts since olive oil, especially the Arbequina variety, combines perfectly with all kinds of preparations, both sweet and savory. If you are interested in discovering an example of its application, here’s a gourmet salad with extra virgin olive oil sorbet.
Another of the peculiar textures that we can achieve with extra virgin olive oil is powder. The technique is really simple, but to carry it out you need to use maltodextrin, a mixture of polymers resulting from the hydrolysis of starch. This is a characteristic ingredient of molecular cuisine that helps us achieve that powdery texture when mixed with the oil.
The technique is quite intuitive since you have to mix both ingredients until you get the powder. Grosso modo is one part maltodextrin per half part oil. Since the resulting powder tends to be sweeter, if you want to use it in more balanced dishes, it’s advisable to add a little salt or even a spice such as paprika, as demonstrated in this gourmet recipe for trampó and octopus.
Although it’s perhaps the most difficult technique shown here, olive oil foam only needs two peculiar elements besides extra virgin olive oil – those are a siphon and glice, another molecular cuisine ingredient, that will provide stability to the foam.
To make this foam, you need to heat both extra virgin olive oil and glice to reach a maximum temperature of 65ºC so that the glice can dissolve well. This emulsified mixture will go into a siphon that must be taken to the fridge to cool up and take on body before using it. The resulting product will give the dishes another unique and delicious texture.
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