EVOO, or Extra Virgin Olive Oil, is a versatile ingredient that has been used in recipes all over the world for centuries. Whether you drizzle it over a salad, toss it into a stew, or enjoy it with balsamic vinegar and fresh bread, EVOO is a great ingredient to keep in your kitchen.
What exactly is it, though, and what makes it different from other olive oils? Read on to find out more about EVOO, including how to use it in your kitchen today!
What is EVOO?
Popularized by the TV personality Rachel Ray, EVOO is an acronym for Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It is “extra virgin” because it’s the batch of oil produced when olives are pressed for the first time. After that, more oil is extracted when the olives are pressed again to make other olive oils.
What Does EVOO Taste Like?
A high-quality EVOO should taste like olives. It has a pleasant, fruity flavor, and a wonderful texture, and is superb when added to pasta, salads, sandwiches, cooked meats, vegetables, and potatoes.
How to Choose the Best EVOO
- Check the age of your olive oil. Ideally, you want one with a harvest date within the last few years because although it lasts a long time, olive oil does not get better with age.
- EVOO loses its distinctive taste when exposed to light and heat so always opt for high-quality EVOO stored in a dark glass container or solid tin.
- Stick to olive oil that features a reputable olive estate on the label.
How to Store EVOO
Store your EVOO in a dark cupboard at room temperature. Refrigerating it or exposing it to heat and light will ruin the oil’s flavor.
You may have heard the term before but the smoke point is simply the temperature at which substances in the oil start to burn. The quickest way to ruin a recipe is to cook oil past its smoke point because it will taste bad and smell strange.
The smoke point of EVOO is low, ranging between 320°F and 400°F but it also depends on the quality, brand, and type of oil.
The Differences Between EVOO and Regular Olive Oil
EVOO has a bold, complex flavor that is much more distinct than the regular variety. In fact, regular olive oil has such a smooth, subtle flavor that it is often mixed with EVOO (about 10%) to make it more interesting. If an EVOO is high-quality and well made, you will taste the olives.
EVOO is difficult to produce as it must be carefully cold-pressed and is subject to strict quality control standards. This makes it quite expensive whereas regular olive oil is relatively cheap because it can be made using several methods. EVOO that does not quite hit the mark is sold as “virgin” or regular olive oil.
Is EVOO Healthy?
Olive oil contains vitamins, minerals, and other healthy compounds, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The vitamin E content in olive oil is especially high, so it’s great for your skin and as an antioxidant.
Studies show olive oil is full of good, healthy fats that improve arterial function and keep your heart strong. However, like with any food, it is best consumed in moderation as part of a healthy balanced diet.
Can You Cook With EVOO?
Thanks to its low smoke point, EVOO is best enjoyed in cold dishes, like sandwiches or salads, or drizzled over pastas and other dishes after they’ve been removed from the oven. Don’t add it to a meal that still needs to be cooked.
Homemade EVOO Sauce Recipe
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a small bowl, combine the EVOO, garlic, parsley, and oregano using a whisk.
- At this point, you should taste the mixture and season with salt and pepper. You can also add more of the other spices if necessary.
- Allow the sauce to sit for an hour at room temperature so the flavors can develop and infuse. Note: this step is recommended but entirely optional.
- Bottle the sauce and use as instructed in recipes or drizzled over fresh bread, salads, and other foods.