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Tips: The Do’s and Dont’s of Cooking with Olive Oil

Springtime is finally here, and the thought of a light, fresh meal on the patio immediately comes to mind. Healthy and flavorful, olive oil is a versatile cooking oil that can be used to saute, stir-fry, mix, marinade, and more. Read below for a few simple do’s and dont’s of using olive oil for your next al fresco meal.


Do Pair with Flavors of Other Ingredients

Room for one more? When exploring varieties of olive oils, registered dietician Gayle Povis Alleman recommends treating olive oils as you do wine: pair them with the flavors of the ingredients in your recipe. Olive oil balances the acidity of high-acid foods, so finding the right combination will enhance your dish and bring out unique flavors.


Do Use as a Drizzle

Ah, the drizzle! A must-have in the Mediterranean, pouring a small stream of olive oil over your dish is a great way to make your meal more flavorful and healthy... Try it on salads, cooked pasta, cooked veggies, and even grilled pizza!


Do Substitute for Butter

Like buttah--but better! A heart-healthy alternative to butter or margarine, olive oil can be used in a range of dishes from appetizers to entrees. For an easy appetizer: pair your bread with a simple olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar for a mouthwatering dip. Is there anything more dreamy than a beautiful ciabatta or baked potato with the full flavors of the Mediterranean?


Do Use in Your Marinades, Sauces & Dressings

Whisk olive oil into your marinade or sauce for a thicker blend. Complementary with meat, fish, poultry, and vegetables, olive oil saturates the top layers of the food and enhances its flavor while providing necessary nutrients. Also, oil and vinegar is a tried-and-true alternative to creamy dressings; light, tasty, and fewer calories.


Don’t Cook Beyond the Smoke Point

Everyone has their breaking point, right? Well, so does olive oil and it’s called the “smoke point.” Extra virgin olive oil smokes roughly between 400 and 365ºF. Don’t heat olive oil past this temperature range or the oil will begin to break down, and that means smoke, burning oil, and a less-than-desirable taste.


Don’t Store in Direct Light

Ah, the amber beauty of olive oil. It’s easy to admire. However, it’s important to remember not to place it in direct sunlight during cooking prep or after. When exposed to light, the oil can quickly turn rancid. The key to longer-lasting, better-tasting oil is storing it in a cool, dark, and dry place. Nix the window sill and store in your pantry or cupboard.

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