The oil from olives has long played an important role in Spanish cuisine and that of other Mediterranean countries.
Spain is renowned throughout the world for having a fabulous variety of dishes and the common link between many of them is the oil from olives that add taste, colour and of course, health benefits.
Nowadays, the number of chefs who incorporate olive oil into their cooking is increasing, as well as more countries discovering its possibilities in the kitchen.
Before you use any Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a basic understanding of it could be useful, so here are some helpful tips to get the very best from it:
- There are extra virgin olive oils from different olive varieties, whose flavour and taste differ so their use in cooking also varies. For example, we could choose Arbequina (with a light and fruity taste) for a dessert or bake a cake. Hojiblanca or Picudo (with a medium flavour) for salad, fish or meat marinaded and Picual (intense fruity) for stews or roasts. For dipping with bread, you can use any depending on how adventurous you are!!
- The common use for Extra Virgin Olive Oil is dressing salads or raw vegetables. If this is the case apply the ingredients in this order: salt then lemon juice or vinegar and the oil at the end.
- We also use Extra Virgin Olive Oil in braising like “sofrito”(consists of garlic, onion, peppers, and tomatoes cooked in olive oil), which is a base for many recipes from all over Spain such as stew, paellas, fish or vegetable recipes.
- Of course, extra virgin olive oil can be used for frying, but it is important not to exceed 180 degrees temperature in the frying pan (a piece of bread should take just 75 seconds to fry at that temperature). When deep-frying, the olive oil forms a crust on the surface that impedes the penetration of oil and improves its flavour. Fry small portions to avoid a rapid decrease of the oil’s temperature and let the food stand afterwards on absorbent paper to remove excess oil.
- And finally, never mix used olive oil with unused olive oil or indeed any other seed oil.
- Keep your bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil away from light and heat sources (eg. the hob!).
Below are some links with easy Spanish recipes for you to try out.
Buen Apetito and we hope you enjoy your food!