Olive oil

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Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Planeta
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Planeta £18.50

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What is it

Oil extracted from olives.

BUYING

The only rule: it's got to be extra virgin. For finishing drizzles, and dipping crusty bread, we use Honest Toil.

storing

Away from light, no matter how lovely the bottle is. Just like milk, olive oil doesn’t get better with age. Use it within 2 months of opening to get it at its best.

GETTING TO KNOW olive oil

For over a millennia, olive oil has been more than just a food. The olive tree, belonging to the Oleaceae family, originated near Syria. It’s among the oldest known trees in the world. Grown before the written language was created.It’s been medicinal, ceremonial and magical. It has weathered wars, conquests and cultural shifts.

Today, foodies around the world still bathe in its golden glory. There are sommeliers, world championships, and there are even holiday resorts dedicated to olive oil. It’s taking over the culinary world.

The labels virgin and extra virgin can be off-putting. First press, cold press, unrefined, refined. All phrases that, when you look into them, have very simple stories.

Olive Oil Glossary

Extra Virgin The queen of olive oil, in quality and reputation. It's acidity has to be below 1%. It’s derived from the first pressing of olives.

Virgin While still good quality, it comes from subsequent pressings and can have an acidity of up to 2%.

First Press and Cold Press This describes the different methods of extracting olive oils from olives during the production process. The terms are largely anachronistic because most extra-virgin oil is now made with centrifuges, not multiple pressings.

Sprouting broccoli with anchovies and lemon oil

Sprouting broccoli with anchovies and lemon oil

How to cook with Olive Oil

It’s best to have two bottles on the go at once: one for cooking, and one for drizzling. Your best extra virgin oil, rich in fresh, grassy complexity, is for finishing a dish or serving with crusty bread at the start of a meal. Regular virgin olive oil is for when you need a larger amount.

Drizzling

Drizzle it on salads, dips, toast, pasta, and sweet treats. It works with almost everything. A new favourite in the test kitchen is drizzling it over ice cream—chocolate is the best.

Baking

Even die hard butter fans can admit that olive oil makes exceptional cakes. It provides incredible moisture, a luscious texture, and even some subtle fruity notes. Don't use your drizzling oil here–your cooking option will suffice.

Can I cook with olive oil?

Most of the time, when frying meats or vegetables, we naturally reach for a neutral oil. The idea is that it won’t add any unwanted taste or waste expensive olive oil. But if you run out of neutral oil, don’t worry. Even the most extra of extra virgin olive oil won’t ruin your dinner.

Olive oil's monounsaturated fats and antioxidants make it stable at high temperatures. Despite misconceptions about its smoke point, EVOO is suitable for most home cooking, and using it can even add nutritional value of your food.

Our conclusion: it isn’t nearly as problematic as it is made out to be.

“Chef. What is your favourite olive oil? For both cooking and drizzling.”

Chaya recommends heading to your local Turkish or Middle Eastern supermarket. They always have big 5L containers of olive oil that are great quality, last you a long time, and are much cheaper than popping down to your local supermarket.