Olive Oil Recipes

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Olive oil has been used in cooking for thousands of years and is one of the cornerstones of the healthy Mediterranean diet.  Its versatility and obvious health benefits make it preferable over most other oils in sautéing, browning, stir-frying, as an ingredient in marinades and sauces like mayonnaise and pesto, and as a condiment, drizzled over various dishes.  It is just as delicious as a bread dipper: dabbed on a fresh slice of a Maltese Hobza and layered with salt, pepper and garlic.

When it comes to cooking, olive oil should be thought of in the same way as wine is.  Different olive oils can and should be used for different purposes.  Strong and robust extra virgin olive oils can be used for cooking fish, meat, to make marinades, or to drizzle on strongly flavoured ingredients like peppers or garlic.  A medium intensity, well-rounded extra virgin olive oil is great on mozzarella or for bread dipping. It’s delicious in vinaigrette or sprinkled on various steamed vegetables and on baked potatoes.  Mellow late harvest oil could be used in baking a cake or to make mayonnaise.

Use a less expensive olive oil that doesn’t have much flavour to fry with and then add a better quality, tastier oil at the table or drizzled over the final dish.

How to avoid contamination when flavouring olive oils

When flavoring olive oils at home which you plan to keep for several months, you must be extremely careful to avoid botulism.  While bacteria will not develop in oil, it can grow in water.  So absolutely no water should be allowed into the oil.  Because of this, flavouring olive oil must exclude the use of fresh herbs, garlic, lemon, etc, unless only small amounts are being infused and are going to be used immediately.  Use dried herbs to flavour olive oils that you wish to keep longer than a week.  The latter can be stored for up to one year.