If one of your new year’s resolutions is to start doing a lot more cooking at home, then there’s an essential ingredient that you simply have to make sure that you always have in the cupboard… and that’s extra virgin olive oil.
As cooking oils go, this is definitely up there with the best and you’ll notice its taste in food immediately, whether you choose to heat it up for frying or sauteing, if you prefer to drizzle it over your favourite Mediterranean salad, use it instead of butter, feature it in a marinade… you’ve got a lot of options ahead of you to explore!
It’s so versatile that you can use it in both savoury and sweet dishes, so why don’t you try baking with it, as well as cooking? It’s actually a healthier option than butter so if that’s a concern for you this January, try it instead in your homemade cakes and biscuits, and see what you think.
When heating it in a pan on the hob, however, do be mindful of the smoke point. This is the temperature at which oil will start to burn and smoke. If you served something that had been cooked in oil to this point, you’d likely be able to taste a burnt flavour. Extra virgin olive oil has a lower smoke point than other oils, so take care in the kitchen.
One of the very best ways to enjoy this particular type of oil is to drizzle it over salads so you can really taste its delicious flavour. And always have some oil and balsamic vinegar on your dinner table so you can dip bread in it whenever the feeling takes you!
Check out BBC Good Food for some cooking ideas!