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Cooking with Olive Oil


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Mm.  Can someone please explain what the difference is (besides taste) between Greek, Spanish and Italian olive oil?

Are there other kinds of olive oil besides this troika and if so, where do they come from?

SA

Olive oils are a bit like wine.

Terrior dictates the flavor,as well as how it is produced and what grade it falls under. I know on this site there are a few whom import olive oil so i'm sure they can detail the differences better than I.

I can comment on the different olive oils I use for different types of dishes (and yes,it does make a difference imo)

For pasta I love bold,peppery and young olive oils Tuscan oils,but with some super tomatoes,fresh feta and some cured olives a full bodied Greek olive oil would be best.

I use olive oils from liguria and provance that I find lighter and fruity to just add a background note.

When dipping or infusing I like big EVOOs from Tuscany or Spain.

That said, this is not wriiten in stone, like wine..enjoy what suits your taste

Turnip Greens are Better than Nothing. Ask the people who have tried both.

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Saw this and had to try it slice of baguette, chunk of bittersweet chocolate melted on then a drizzle of real fruity olive oil & sprinkle of fleur du sel... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm lovely afternoon pick up also good as a mini desert course after cheese & fruit before coffee..

incidentally I use olive oil ( the brand chez panisse is touting via website is great) to accent dishes right before serving, little drizzle not to much

I was at my local cheese shop yesterday (DiBruno's in Philly) and started "selling" olive oils to the other customers whilst on line, I mentioned having grades of olive oil in my kitchen, one for saute (least flavor), one for salads & drizzles (most), one for making pureeds(med & least expensive) I got these 2 ladies to but 2 different bottles it was so fun

Also I use my least expensive olive oil to make an exfoliating body scrub, olive oil, kosher salt sugar & nuetrogena (or minersal oil +scent) oil , sometimes lavender buds mixed together slathered on scrubbed in then rinsed off your skin feels like silk

"sometimes I comb my hair with a fork" Eloise

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Mm.  Can someone please explain what the difference is (besides taste) between Greek, Spanish and Italian olive oil?

Are there other kinds of olive oil besides this troika and if so, where do they come from?

SA

I noticed the Bertolli EVOO now has a small statement on the back label that it may be composed of oils from Italy, Tunisia, Greece, and Spain. That text is much smaller than the "Packed in Lucca" text which dominates the front label.

I compared the bottle to an old bottle, and the foreign sources are not present. I'm guessing the EU disclosure rules may have played a role in the label change.

Turkey is another supplier of olive oil.

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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Has anyone ever had Croatian olive oil? I picked up a homemade bottle of olive oil on the island of Korcula:

fd57654f.jpg

(Reputed to be the birthplace of Marco Polo.)

It wasn't very dark, but had a terrific, strong, fruity flavor.

(Korcula wines, mostly grown in the Blato ("mud") region are interesting, but thin.)

If anyone knows of an importer . . . .

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Like I said in my Bio....I am the worst speller on the internet  :smile:

However, put me in a kitchen and that's a different story.

I suppose so. The spelling in the kitchen is usually worse than on the Internet.

:biggrin:

It's not always so good in the front of the house either. I've seem some great typos on menus.

:biggrin:

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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Olive oils are very much like wine. There are many factors that go into the taste besides the soil. For starters there's the olive itself. Just as different olives have a different taste, so will their oils. Where I buy my oil, I have tasted several different varietal bottlings. One Sicilian farm bottles at least two single variety oils and a blend. One of the varietals is incredibly fruity. The other is almost as fruit, but has a far more pronounced pepper bite. The differences in the olive oils of one country can be so great that it may be as hard to define the national characteristic of the oil as the wines of that country.

Has France been mentioned as an olive oil producer? I guess so, as Plotnicki mentioned importing French oil. I think many of the north African and middle eastern countries make olive oil. I guess they make olive oil wherever they grow olives. That includes California.

I believe I've seen oils from Lebanon and other Middle eastern countries in Kalustyan on Lexington and 28th Street in NYC.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Olive oil is produced in a number of suprising places: Argentina, Australia, Mexico, and Yugoslavia to name just a few. I hear the Australian stuff can be quite good.

In terms of what is imported to the United States, more comes from Italy than all other sources combined. The other significant sources are Spain, Turkey, Greece, and Morocco. When you get to France, you're talking about 1/10 the quantity we import from Morocco, which in turn is about 1/30 of what we get from Italy. I think.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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  • 4 months later...

I notice recipes here and there that call for sautéing, roasting, searing (think meat or fish) or otherwise cooking on high heat with extra virgin olive oil (EVO).

EVO is the first (cold) press of the olives. This raw state is where one can appreciate the subtleties of the olive and is what makes EVO so special. Heating the oil in a pan to the point of smoking is going to ruin it.

There are of course exceptions (many), where cooking with olive oil is done. Making a soffrito comes to mind – the slow simmering of aromatic vegetables in EVO. The slow, gentle cooking or a porcini mushroom or sweating onions for a risotto. The important part of the technique is not letting the oil reach a temperature where it begins to smoke. Olive oil has a lower smoking point than vegetable or nut oils and burns very easily.

It is possible that not everyone is on the same page when we talk about olive oil. What I mean to say, is that all are not extra virgin. After the first cold press, what’s left (and it’s considerable) is slightly heated and pressed again to extract more oil. The result is not extra virgin but a lesser grade of oil. This on the other hand would be acceptable to cook with and is indeed blended with other oils for just that purpose.

The most expensive EVOs such as Laudemio should never be heated at all and used only in the raw state –right from the bottle.

What types of oils do ya'll use for cooking at home?

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I do most of my cooking with flavorless vegetable oil. I buy a massive thing of it at Costco every year or so. For most everything I cook, neutral vegetable oil performs better than olive oil would. I prefer to keep just a small amount of excellent olive oil (extra virgin from a good producer) on hand to finish dishes. This combination of cooking with vegetable oil and drizzling with good olive oil seems to be prevalent in nouvelle cuisine restaurants and makes a lot of sense. I find that most people, when they cook with olive oil, are using the wrong tool for the job. Unless a traditional recipe specifically calls for cooking with olive oil, I skip it.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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We often use Olio Carli EVOO manufactured by the Fratelli Carli in the pan. it's not terribly expensive nor does it have such a distinctive olive oil flavor. On the plate, or in the salad dressing we use a better EVOO, usually from Italy and usually a novello from a smaller producer. We switched to the Carli EVOO on the advice of others who suggested an inexpensive mild EVOO would offer a slightly better flavor than the cheaper grades of olive oil in cooking.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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We often use Olio Carli EVOO manufactured by the Fratelli Carli in the pan. it's not terribly expensive nor does it have such a distinctive olive oil flavor. On the plate, or in the salad dressing we use a better EVOO, usually from Italy and usually a novello from a smaller producer. We switched to the Carli EVOO on the advice of others who suggested an inexpensive mild EVOO would offer a slighly better flavor in cooking.

But EVOO has minute pieces of the olive still in it and they burn very easily. The beauty of EVOO is that it was never heated. Once its heated its no longer EVOO really. Why would you put it in the pan at all?

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I agree with Matt's and FG's prescription, and this is what we tend to do at home. We buy an inexpensive but tasty extra virgin oil from Spéracédes, in 5 litre tins, and use it for almost everything except cooking at high temperatures -- for which we use a neutral vegetable oil, e.g. sunflower.

I am consistently surprised, though, when travelling in Italy, to find home cooks and cooks in small restaurants frying all sorts of things in extra virgin olive oil -- including deep frying. Perhaps this is because this is the oil most readily available to them. I see this in France as well. The Spéracédes mill, for example, sells no grade other than extra virgin.

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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Aussie chef Neil Perry cooks with EVOO, and lots of it, all the time but I have no idea why he thinks its a good idea.

I have a terrible habit of sloshing whatever comes to hand in a pan and that is often EVOO. I'm trying to train myself to have the veg oil close to hand and use that instead, which seems to be working. Conversely, I have never been tempted to dress a salad with veg oil through sheer laziness, and always find the EVOO for that if I need it, although sometimes I might just use lemon or lime juice by itself if I think the salad can stand it.

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There's certainly a perception, among Americans at least, that olive oil is "healthy." I'm not sure that most people, however, have much of a grasp of what that means. For example, I've heard the following explanations for why olive oil is healthful: 1) "It has no cholesterol, unlike those tropical oils." Well, actually, cholesterol is something that exists only in animal products. There is no such thing as cholesterol in any kind of oil that is produced from plants. No cholesterol whatsoever in peanut oil, corn oil, coconut oil, etc. 2) "It's lower in calories than other oils." No, pretty much any kind of oil you can find is going to have about 120 calories per tablespoon. 3) "It's lower in fat than other oils." But oil gets 100% of its calories from fat. The whole point of oil is that it's fat. Again, there is little variation: Any kind of oil will have roughly 14 grams of fat per tablespoon.

The real argument that olive oil is the most healthful oil has to do with it having the most monounsaturated fat of any of the generally available options. There's also a persuasive argument that canola oil is the best from a health standpoint because it has the lowest overall saturated fat.

This all gets back to the idea that the "Mediterranean diet" is so wonderful. But it's worth noting that the Mediterranean diet goes in and out of favor based on various studies and refutations. Last time I researched this -- and I'm sure there have been plenty of studies since -- the population studies just didn't support the whole Mediterranean diet concept.

The sad part is when people get it in their heads that a certain kind of oil is good for you and they take that information as license to use it with reckless abandon.

Another commonly stated justification for using olive oil in cooking is that it has more flavor than vegetable oil and you can therefore use less of it in your cooking. The home economist types who say this don't seem to have much of a grasp of the realities of cooking.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Aussie chef Neil Perry cooks with EVOO, and lots of it, all the time but I have no idea why he thinks its a good idea.

And what about Mario? On his cooking show he uses EVOO for EVERYTHING including deep-frying.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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A point of view I have seen expressed in Italy, which goes towards explaining the Italian preference for cooking with EVOO, is that most other oils are obtained through a chemical extraction process and this is seen as a very bad thing.

v

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I use EVOO for just about everything. A basic supermarket brand for cooking and higher grades for using cold. EVOO loses its distinctive flavour when heated, which is just what you want in most dishes. I just like the idea of Olive Oil in my food as opposed to other neutral tasting oils like sunflower or "vegetable"

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So has St. Mario got it all wrong? Whenever someone on his show asks him, he always says that EVOO is traditional in the dish he is making.

Lately, I've been using light olive oil for all cooking short of deep-frying. It's a highly filtered form that lacks the intense fruitiness of an EVOO, but takes high temperatures better. I don't detect any taste difference in the final product vs. what I would get with any other neutral vegetable oil. I started down this road when I saw a big bottle of the Goya brand on sale and decided to give it a try.

I agree with FG on finishing with a drizzle of a top quality EVOO.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

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A combination of sweet butter and plain olive oil. I recently purchased the "imported pure olive oil" from TJ's and am quite happy with it.

"Tell your friends all around the world, ain't no companion like a blue - eyed merle" Robert Plant

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The real argument that olive oil is the most healthful oil has to do with it having the most monounsaturated fat of any of the generally available options.

For this reason, I cook with Olive Oil, but not EVOO. Many manufacturers produce a "light tasting" olive oil..not lite as in calories, but "light " as in flavor...it is very mild, close to the tastelessness of a vegetable oil..but again, with monosaturated i/o polysaturated.

Of course, as mentioned, I agree that any kind of sustained high temperature process like deep frying needs vegetable oil, but for most sautees you can use the healthier option.

EVOO is for salad, maybe to drizzle in soups, or for finishing a dish, IMHO.

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:biggrin: at our restaurant we slow cook light fish in evo. lightly warm to around 165 degrees and poach fish about 5-6 minutes per inch. sprinkle with fleur de sel and have a little vegtable risotto. wooo hooo! im getting hungry! :laugh: p.s.,,,snapper,sea bass,grouper,,cod
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"I thought I read somewhere that its very high smoking point makes it useful for cooking and frying."

that's what i had in mind. grape seed oil ought to be healthier. i love a good olive oil for dressing, drizzling etc., though.

besides, the whole saturation and cholesterol thing is being debated in scientific circles. some even suggest that butter is healthier than olive oil. i find the whole thing rather impenetrable, really. in the eu, the olive oil lobby has been able to sell the idea of the overall excellence of their produce, and in the usa it seems that the pharmaceutical lobby has convinced the public that half of you should take some sort of anti-cholesterol drugs. what is an un-smug un-scientific bastard to believe?

christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

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