Olive oil is a staple in Greek cooking, so it’s probably no surprise to you girls that I love it!
Extra virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidants and can help to lower the level of LDL (or bad) cholesterol in your body. When using olive oil, I recommend buying a good quality extra virgin variety.
There are tons of ways to you can use olive oil, such as in a salad dressing, drizzling over pasta and roast veggies, or as an accompaniment for fresh bread! However, if you're after a little extra flavour, smell and colour in your cooking, you should try infusing your oil!
Here are some of my favourite ways to jazz up your olive oil:
Infuse olive oil with citrus
For a dressing that packs more punch, try infusing your olive oil with citrus zest. The smell is fantastic, but it’s the taste that you are going to love! Pour a little over pasta or tasty grain salad or add a few drops to roasted vegetables (particularly roast capscium and zucchini). Citrus-infused oil is also delicious with tuna.
Simply grate the zest of lemon, orange or grapefruit and add to your oil! When infusing the oil, try and avoid adding any of the pith to prevent it from tasting bitter.
Infuse olive oil with herbs
The flavours of fresh herbs beautifully complement olive oil and can create an intense taste. When using fresh herbs, you can either select your favourite or a combination. Rosemary, sage and thyme is a good combination that works really well for dipping bread or pita chips - yum!
When preparing to make herb-infused oil, it's important that you don’t just add them straight away like you would with spices. Before you even begin infusing, you’ll need to thoroughly wash and dry the herb or herbs first to remove any dirt or contaminants. If you're using rosemary or thyme, it can also a good idea to blanch the herbs. Once dry, lightly heat the oil so it’s warm before adding the herbs (as this can prevent them from cooking). When bottling, you can either strain the herbs out, or leave them in for decoration and extra flavour.
If you don’t want to heat the oil, you can simply combine it with the herbs in a blender. Refrigerate the oil mixture overnight and strain the larger pieces of blended herbs off with a fine sieve before you serve it.
Play around with flavours
Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll be able to play around with a variety of different infusion ideas. Try incorporating different ingredients and flavours together, such as combining garlic with lime and coriander. Chilli infused oil is awesome for garnishing pasta and risotto too.
Infusion oils are best stored in the fridge, then taken out a little before you serve your meal. It’s best not to keep the oils for longer than about 7 days.
Those tasty infused oils you see in restaurants are super easy to make yourself! Adding spices and herbs to olive oil can help enhance those delicious salads and roast veggies, as well as looking fantastic as a garnish. For a tastier way to add some healthy fat to your diet, try out some of these oil mixtures!Love, Kayla xx