My absolute, number one, favourite ingredient is for the letter O: Olive Oil.
I prefer any type of oil over butter, but the Queen of oils is the one for me. With so many different olive variations, producing techniques and regions, there is an endless supply of this golden liquid.
It all started an immense long time ago, probably around 5000 BC (wow.) when the smart people back then thought of a way to use all those olives that fell from the trees; namely, by pressing the olives until a liquid comes out. During the time of the Egyptians (1200 BC), the cultivation of olives for oils was a regular thing, not only using it for their food but also to light up oil lamps, for religious rituals, and as a medicine.
The Ancient Greeks used olive oil as a way of maintaining hygiene. The atlethes rubbed their skin with the oil, after which they scraped all the grease and dirt with an instrument called the strigiles. Ofcourse, the Romans found olive oil to be quite an exquisite thing as well, thus planting the trees everywhere in Italy – except for the northwest.
Olive oil is not solely cultivated in Italy, but also in other European countries such as Spain, Turkey, France, and Greece. Famous Italian olive varieties are the Taggiasca, the Frantoio, the Moraiolo and the Coratina.
The best olive oil there is, is the extra virgin oil which I have mentioned in quite some posts I believe. This variety of the oil is highly concentrated, resulting in the dark colour. It is a great oil to use in dressings (such as the one below!), in the Bruschetta or over the Crostini. Or simply pour some oil in a bowl, add some salt and pepper, and dip with bread. That’s the way to go to enjoy this olive oil.
- 1 part red or white wine vinegar (or balsamic)
- 5 parts extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt flakes
- Fresh pepper
Used kitchen appliances
- 1 bowl
- Finely chop the shallot. Place in bowl.
- Add the vinegar and olive oil. Stir.
- Season to taste.
Serve with an avocado salad, green salad, or over oven roasted potatoes.