August 26, 2010
There are three general varieties of olive oil on American grocery-store shelves. Here's a guide. Extra virgin olive oil Made from fully ripened olives that are pressed right after harvest, this oil should have a robust, fruity flavor and rich, greenish-gold color. Use extra virgin olive oil when you want its flavor to shine through - on salads, in vegetable dishes, for bread dipping and to season marinades, sauces and soups. Olive oil All-purpose cooking oil, sometimes described as "pure olive oil," has a mild taste that can be a flavor-enhancer in various dishes.
January 3, 1990 |
It used to be so easy. If you needed olive oil, you bought whatever was on the shelf at the supermarket. If you needed a lot, you bought it by the gallon on 9th Street at the Italian Market. Most all of the major brands tasted alike, and most of them didn't have much flavor, anyway. They were good for sauteing, fine as bases for flavoring with herbs and spices, and they smoothed out salad dressings even if they didn't add much flavor of their own. No more. Everywhere you go, there is an absolute profusion of olive oils, each with its own flavor and health claim.
September 16, 1987 |
I was really pleased when the nutrition types finally decided that mono- unsaturated fats like olive oil (and avocado oil) were actually good for a person. After garlic, olive oil is one of my very favorite foods. I like the kinds that actually taste of olives - especially on salads and most especially with basil, tomato, mozzarella cheese and a grind or two of black pepper from my pepper mill. However, I had company for dinner the other night. The first course was to be a slab of really ripe tomato covered with a thick slice of mozzarella topped with olive oil and basil leaves.
May 30, 1990 |
Even though olive oil has gained new status with health watchers, the current wisdom still points to keeping down your intake of all forms of fat. How to savor the flavor of fragrant olive oil and enjoy its heart-smart benefits - without a lot of calories? Pair olive oil with ultra low-fat main course choices, fish, for example. Cholesterol-wise calorie watchers will appreciate these recipes; they combine small amounts of olive oil with the heartiest heart-smart main course, fish.
August 23, 1992 |
An old Spanish proverb says "Let the salad maker be a spendthrift for oil, a miser for vinegar, a statesman for salt and a madman for mixing. " Though many of today's consumers have been swayed to the benefits of cooking with olive oil, few still realize that there is an entire library of olive oils from which to choose. While a virgin olive oil might be appropriate for sauteing, Helen Studley, cookbook author and owner of La Colombe d'Or restaurant in New York, points out that "because extra-virgin olive oil has its own distinctive smoky flavor, it's best in salad dressings or as part of a sauce.
January 30, 2015 |
As Vetri chef Alicia Walter prepared for a recent seven-week trip to study olive oil production in the Mediterranean, she was warned that it wouldn't be pretty. The industry had a rough year, blamed on too much rain in some areas and not enough in others. An olive-eating fruit fly had ravaged crops in Italy and left a dent in Greek olive orchards, as well. Still, she didn't realize how bleak the situation was until she walked into the groves and talked with the devastated families who relied on olive oil for their livelihood.
March 14, 1993 |
In Italy, scorpacciata (skor-pah-CHA-tah), or just simply scorp, is a focused binge that concentrates on specific foods that are frequently seasonal and/or regional. Spring strawberries, cherries or asparagus, tomato or truffle season, a special dessert, a midnight spaghetti snack or a big holiday dinner may all be opportunities for a serious scorp. One of the most serious scorps takes place each winter in Tuscany, when freshly pressed, almost phosphorescent green, aggressively peppery olive oil is abundantly poured over practically everything at the table.
January 26, 2012 |
Maybe it's time to look beyond claims of virginity in the oil aisle. Because you see, our 20-year love affair with olive oil has had fallout. We've forgotten that there's a whole world of oils that don't come from the olive tree. And they can do a heck of a lot more than just saute and make a fine dressing. OK, maybe we didn't forget. Maybe we didn't know about them at all. It's not as though before the EVOO revolution we were all swilling avocado and grape-seed oils. But olive oil has done a fine job of elbowing out other up-and-comers.
September 22, 2004 |
In this age of diet daze, it may afford some relief to hear that the simple trinity of olive oil, wheat and wine enjoyed for centuries in the Mediterranean is still the ticket to good health and long life. Two studies published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggest that the Mediterranean diet, along with several lifestyle changes, can substantially reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes and add years of life. In one study, elderly people who followed this regimen had a death rate more than 50 percent lower than those who did not. "This is a perfect example of how lifestyle changes can benefit you in the long term, and it's about mortality, which is kind of important," said Angie Makris, an obesity researcher at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine whose Greek parents raised her on Mediterranean foods.
January 14, 1990 |
Those letters BYOB at the bottom of an invitation mean Bring Your Own Bottle. Usually. But in the case of one local restaurant, they might have meant Bring Your Own Butter. For a few months during the summer and fall, it was virtually impossible to get butter for your bread at Apropos, a Center City restaurant. Maybe if you stood on your head and whistled, or threatened a server with a butter knife, you'd get some. But for the most part, when it came to withholding butter from its patrons, the restaurant stood pat. What Apropos did serve was olive oil. Good, rich-tasting, 100 percent extra-virgin olive oil. Dip the hard-crusted bread in the oil, sprinkle it with some pepper and herbs, and enjoy.