March 1-14, 2010
For many chefs and home cooks, olive oil is the best way to flavor a meal. It has transformational powers that enhance a food’s flavor and takes items that may seem boring, like chicken, veggies or even popcorn, and upscale them in a way that no other ingredient manages to do.
A few of my favorite ways to use this oil is drizzled on avocado slices with a grinding of black pepper, splashed on spicy arugula with a sprinkle of fleur de sel, or baked in a cake, such as an Almond Olive Oil Cake. Growing up in a house where olive oil was used in place of butter over 90% of the time, I have come to appreciate the characteristics of this oil---the color (the greener the better), the density (the denser the better), the flavor, the pressing process, and the simplicity of the olive; how something so small could produce something so magnificent.
The history of olive oil, or “liquid gold” as Homer liked to call it, is quite grand. The olive tree is native to the Mediterranean landscape and the first people to collect wild olives were the Neolithic people of the 8th millennium B.C. Historians believe the first cultivation of olive oil began on the island of Crete in Greece. The best version of olive oil is extra virgin olive oil. One of the most important elements of the Mediterranean diet, extra virgin olive oil is unrefined, unprocessed, pure, and natural. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat that is also bursting with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The types of olive oils include:
- Pure Olive Oil- Filtered and refined, undergoes some processing
- Extra Light Olive Oil- Considerable processing and only retains a mild olive flavor
- Virgin Olive Oil- The Second Pressing of olives
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)- Considered the best, least processed and from the first pressing of the olives
Consuming olive oil instead of butter has been shown to decrease the prevalence of heart disease and is also “heart protective.” In addition, recent studies have shown that olive oil, in combination with fresh fruits and vegetables enhance the benefits of those foods on their own. At Sickles Market, we are always searching for top quality products especially when it comes to olive oil. We have Italian, Greek and Spanish olive oils as well as specialty olive oils like white truffle oil. Add truffle oil to any pasta dish, and you will feel like you are sitting in a Roman trattoria!
Over the next two weeks Sickles Market will be holding an olive oil blind tasting contest featuring six olive oils we carry in the store. We hope you will come on in and participate, let us know what your favorites are, and what foods you like to prepare with olive oil!
Tip: When storing olive oil remember this: Olives are fruit; olive oil is a fruit juice. Air, heat, and light will cause olive oil to turn bad. The ideal temperature for storing olive oil is 57° (14 C), although a normal room temperature of 70º works very well if the olive oil is stored in a dark area where the temperature remains fairly constant.
Olive Oil Fried Eggs with Mozzarella and Harissa
Crostini with Lump Crab Salad and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Almond Olive Oil Cake
Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes
Olive oils in this demo will receive the 15% Gourmet Club discount from
March 1 – 14, 2010.