Cooking with Olive Oil

Olive oil is an essential ingredient found in any kitchen shelf in many parts of the world. Whether you’re a fine chef or just a happy home cook, you might have encountered a bottle of olive oil to saute some dishes. But the quest for cooking with olive oil certainly doesn’t end in simple sauteing, because there are so many other ways to use it. Different types of olive oil can be used depending on the dish you want to make. Here are some tips for cooking with olive oil.

Make Salad Dressings

For any dish that does not require heat, the types of olive oil you can use are extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and virgin olive oil. These types are graded as high quality olive oils based on their natural bitter taste, fruitiness, and pungent flavor. They are best used in cold or uncooked dishes. EVOO also has the highest nutritional value and health benefits because of its high content of healthy fat and antioxidants. Not only does it help enhance the flavor of the spices and herbs in a salad dressing, but it also boosts the nutritional benefits of the salad recipe. 

Finish the dish

Drizzling a hint of olive oil can already bring the flavor of any type of dish to a whole new level. Finish your soup dish, scrambled eggs, pasta, grilled meat or poultry, or even smoked fish with a dash of olive oil for a depth of flavor. Depending on your preferred intensity of flavor, the types of olive oil that will produce a burst of peppery taste and fruity aroma are EVOO or virgin olive oil. Refined or light olive oil is preferred for a less pungent and less bitter flavor. 

Blend with Sauces and Marinade 

Incorporate olive oil into your sauces or marinades for a more robust taste and healthier recipe.  Fat is an important element in any marinade because it carries fat soluble flavors into the meat. It also keeps the meat moist and balances the overwhelming flavors of spices and herbs incorporated into the layer of marinade. EVOO is still a good choice for sauces and marinade.

Bake without Butter

Olive oil is a wonderful alternative for butter or margarine. You can search for cake recipes to guide you on how to measure EVOO to substitute equal parts of butter. Just be mindful of the range of flavors and textures of olive oil sold in the market. A really intense flavor can be too overpowering. For baked desserts, it is best to choose light olive oil for a sweeter and milder flavor.

Making Snacks and Desserts

End a warm meal with a healthy dessert. Add some virgin olive oil on your vanilla ice cream or chocolate mousse, and you’ll be surprised. Grab some bread and drizzle it with a mixture of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and you get yourself a simple healthy snack. Experience a new depth of flavor by drizzling some olive oil on a plain white popcorn.

Sizzling and Grilling

You can never go wrong with pairing meat, fish, or poultry with olive oil. Bring chicken or duck to a crisp by coating it with olive oil prior to frying. There is no harm in grilling with olive oil. Thanks to the natural antioxidant properties of extra virgin olive oil, it can  neutralize potential carcinogens that can be found in grilled food.

Different types of olive oil can be used for any sweet and savory dishes. With the myriad of wonders it does to the flavor of your meals, you can definitely use olive oil in everyday cooking.


Alex is the co-author of 100 Greatest Plays, 100 Greatest Cricketers, 100 Greatest Films and 100 Greatest Moments. He has written for a wide variety of publications including The Observer, The Sunday Times, The Daily Mail, The Guardian and The Telegraph.

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