Cooking with Olive Oil: 4 Things to Know

Cooking oil is essential to many recipes – but in most Italian dishes especially, you’ll find olive oil listed in the recipe. This unique oil is highly regarded for its flavor and health benefits. Thus, making it a two-for-one win in the kitchen. If you’re going to be cooking with olive oil, here are four things you should know before diving in.

1. Choosing the Right Olive Oil for Cooking

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The first thing you need to know is that there are numerous varieties of olive oil to choose from. Choosing the right one comes down to more than personal preference. Olive oil comes in grades – like light, virgin, and extra virgin. The process used for the olives and the acidity level of the final product determines the grade of the oil.

If you’re looking for maximum flavor and health benefits, then your best bet – and the most commonly preferred grade – is extra virgin olive oil.

2. How Long Does Olive Oil Last?

You might notice that olive oil doesn’t typically come in a clear glass bottle or plastic container. Instead, the bottle usually has a darker hue to it – perhaps a dark green shade. This is because the oil is very sensitive to light.

Like many essential oils, it is best to keep olive oil in a cool and dark place. Heat, light, and air can all have a negative impact on flavor and health benefits. If stored properly, your olive oil can keep for up to two years if unopened – or a few months at least after initial use.

3. What’s the Best Temperature for Cooking?

This might surprise you as we often think of oil as something to fry things, but the lower the cooking temperature the better. Even though you can fry things in olive oil, you’re better off not overheating it. This is especially true when using a high-quality extra virgin olive oil that you bought for the health benefits.

While this may feel like it limits the recipes you can use olive oil for, the limit is only on your creativity. Spizzico dishes like bruschetta and Margherita pizza both use extra virgin olive oil! We have proudly perfected the wonderful flavor without losing the health benefits of the oil.

4. Replace Your Salad Dressings with Olive Oil

You might be surprised to find out just how many salad dressings are made with olive oil. Even more, these dressings are also healthy as well. As we mentioned earlier, you don’t want to overheat olive oil if you’re using it for the multitude of health benefits. Thus, replacing your ranch or blue cheese dressing with an olive oil-based salad dressing is a tasty alternative to incorporate into your diet.

Some olive oil-based dressings include:

  • Olive oil vinaigrette
  • Red wine vinegar and olive oil
  • Olive oil and lemon vinaigrette

The Possibilities Are Virtually Endless

The most important thing to remember when using olive oil in cooking is that the options are endless. The sky is the limit so to speak – so let your creativity fly! You can use olive oil in many unique dishes – but if you’re cooking Italian for dinner, you’ll need to have a good quality olive oil on hand. And, if we’ve got you craving classic Italian dishes now, Spizzico’s can take care of that. Stop by for lunch or dinner any day of the week and taste the flavors of Italy. Questions? Call us at 443-214-5121.