Because of virgin olive oil’s lighter flavor compared with extra virgin oils, recipes sometimes recommend use of virgin oil for cooking and baking to ensure that the flavors of the food are not dominated by the intensity of extra virgin oils. Sometimes they even recommend the use of refined oils, in the form of Light or Extra Light olive oil, which are devoid of nutrients and antioxidants. ACAIA’s special advantage is that while it is extra virgin, it has the subtle and light flavors derived from the Kolovi olive variety which allow it to complement rather than dominate the taste of foods. Using ACAIA, consumers can maximize the health benefits derived from consuming extra virgin olive oil while enjoying foods enhanced by ACAIA’s fine flavors.
Extra virgin olive oil is a highly versatile food, as it is suitable for dips, salad dressings, drizzling over vegetables, stove-top cooking, baking, sautéing and frying. Yet there are some popular misconceptions about cooking with extra virgin olive oil:
"Extra virgin olive oil loses its nutrients when heated, therefore use it only for salad dressings and dips; use virgin oil for cooking since this is less expensive."
Wrong! Heating extra virgin olive oil does not cause loss of nutrients. In fact, cooking with extra virgin olive oil provides the opportunity to get the same health benefits as eating it uncooked such as in a salad. Moreover, the aromas and flavors of extra virgin olive oil enhance the quality of the dishes in which it is used.
"Do not fry with extra virgin olive oil because it has a low smoke point."
Wrong! Extra virgin olive oil is actually the ideal oil for sautéing and frying because:
- The smoke point of olive oil is 410oF (210oC), far above the 355oF (180oC), which is the best temperature for frying; moreover, the better the quality of the olive oil (meaning the lower the acidity), the higher the smoke point.
- The chemical composition of extra virgin olive does not change due to frying at normal temperatures and the oil does not lose its nutrients; moreover, extra virgin olive oil can be safely re-used for deep-frying four to five times.
- Frying a food in extra virgin olive oil creates a protective outer crust that insulates the food’s nutrients and flavors, while preventing the penetration of the oil into the food; this results in fried foods with higher nutrients and lower oil content, and hence lower calories, than foods fried in other kinds of oil.
In view of its versatility, cooking properties, flavors and health benefits, extra virgin olive oil is an excellent substitute for butter, margarine and other cooking oil in both savory foods and deserts. Here are the simple rules for making such substitutions:
Extra virgin olive oil in place of vegetable oils
Use the same amount of olive oil as vegetable oil; for example, I cup olive oil = I cup vegetable oil.
Extra virgin olive oil in place of butter or margarine
Use a ¾ rate of olive oil to butter or margarine; for example, ¾ cup olive oil = I cup butter.
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