Thanks to California Olive Ranch, producer of extra virgin olive oils, for our Tip Of The Day: baking, cooking and grilling with EVOO. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the best oils to cook with. Use it for baking, frying, poaching, sautéing and finishing. Extra virgin olive oil holds up well under high temperatures, and brings a uniquely nuanced flavor profile to your dish. Plus, its health benefits, including heart healthiness, are terrific.
Plan ahead: June 1st is National Olive Oil Day and August is National Olive Oil Month.
> The History Of Olive Oil
It’s a common misconception that olive oil’s smoke point is too low for grilling. That may be true of much grocery store olive oil, but high quality EVOO has a smoke point of more than 425°F.
A grill’s temperature is 400-450°F for high heat, 350-400°F for medium-high, 300-350°F for medium, and 250-300°F for low heat.
Extra virgin olive oil is some of the freshest and highest-quality oil available among cooking oil. All those antioxidants help it hold its form at higher temperatures.
Lower quality olive oils such as virgin olive oil or simply “olive oil”, on the other hand, have a high free fatty acid content and will smoke at a lower temperature (the different types of olive oil).
Brush the grill. A light brushing of EVOO on the grill will do wonders in keeping your foods from sticking. Just don’t get heavy handed: You don’t want oil dripping into the flames.
Mist your meats and seafood. Use an EVOO spray several times as they are grilling. This creates a glaze and adds yet another layer of flavor.
Instead of a spray, dip herbs in EVOO. Tie together a bunch of fresh rosemary or thyme, and use it as a brush to baste your foods with olive oil as they grill. It will infuse your food with flavor as it grill. Alternatively, you can tie fresh herbs onto your basting brush and infuse their flavor that way.
A staple in your kitchen, EVOO is versatile and useful for many purposes beyond grilling. Some key uses:
Baking with extra virgin olive oil is a sure way to add complexity of flavor and more moisture to baked goods.
For starters, it’s a great way to reduce the amount of saturated fat in of your favorite treats.
Baking with extra virgin olive oil is easy with this conversion chart.
You can even make olive oil ice cream! Here’s a recipe.
A long-standing myth is that olive oil’s smoke point can’t stand up to the high heat required for frying.
High-quality extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point upwards of 425°F, well above the ideal frying temperature of around 350°F.
A general rule of thumb: the higher the quality and the fresher an oil is, the higher the smoke point will be.
Lower quality olive oils such as virgin or crude, on the other hand, have a high free fatty acid content and will smoke at a lower temperature
*The grades of olive oil based on levels of acidity: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Virgin Olive Oil, Lampante Virgin Olive Oil, Refined Olive Oil, Refined Pomace Olive Oil, Olive Oil and Pomace Olive Oil. Each type has a different smoke oil. Unless labeled Extra Virgin, a grocery store olive oil brand is typically Refined Olive Oil or Olive Oil.
Some grocery store brands labeled Olive Oil, Cooking Olive Oil or Pure Olive Oil. Pure olive oil is not at all pure: It’s a portion of Extra Virgin or Virgin Olive Oil blended with Refined Olive Oil. The blending method is often used when the extraction quality of the Refined Olive Oil is not as good as expected. In order to improve the quality, the refined oil has to be mixed with a better quality one for better flavor [source].