Olive oil: how to pick the best variety for your dish
Do you know how the differences between the different varieties of Olive Oil and which one will work better with your dish?
Olive oil is an essential part of the Mediterranean Diet . In Spain we count with 260 different varieties of olives and consumers can find on the market different commercial categories of Olive Oils :
• Extra virgin olive oil : 100 % olive juice , with excellent flavor and aroma characteristics . It is especially suitable for use in cold, as marinades, salad dressings , sauces, or as a finishing touch to any dish as well as casseroles and desserts. In this case, we find two types:
Monovarietal : obtained from a single variety of olive, so that you can clearly see the sensory attributes of each type of olive.
Blend : contains different varieties of olive, in the stringency necessary to achieve the desired attributes of bitterness and fruitiness
• Virgin olive oil : 100% olive juice , with good flavor and aroma characteristics (though not great , which is what differentiates it from extra virgin) . It is suitable for the same uses that extra virgin.
• Olive oil : the oil blend of refined olive oils and virgin or extra virgin olive oil. It is especially suitable for high temperature cooking , especially for frying . Retains all its properties during frying ( 180 ° C/380 ° F ) due to its high content of oleic acid . It is also ideal for making sauces , like mayonnaise .
Major varieties and their recommended uses
There are 260 olive varieties processed to produce olive oil , although the most popular are: Arbequina, Cornicabra , Hojiblanca and Picual . These are the characteristics of each and their recommended , according to the Spanish chef Juan Pozuelo uses.
• Arbequina : This oil has a fruity aroma (apple , banana and almond) . It is a very fluid oil, a little sweet, iwith only a spicy or bitter note. When the olive is collected at its peak of ripeness , that sweetness is much more evident .
It is ideal for making mayonnaise , dressings, pickled anchovies , marinated salmon, seafood carpaccio , gazpacho and sautees . We will use , for example, to spray white fish baked or grilled . It also applies in soft marinated , cold creams and confectionery masses . Recommended for pastry.
• Cornicabra : cornicabra oils have aromatic apple flavors and herbal tones . It has a slight bitterness and the taste is more intense. It is very stable and has a high content of oleic acid, polyphenols and antioxidants that provide a high resistance to oxidation and make it healthy.
It is used in the preparation of deep fried foods , salads , ceviches , sauteed meats, shellfish , baked potatoes , pizza crusts , empanadas , churros and donuts.
• Hojiblanca : this variety is very fruity and complex , characterized by aromas of freshly cut grass , artichoke and aromatic plants. It is also a sweet oil, with a slight bitterness at the end , which ends with a very localized spiciness in mouth. Having a composition of oleic acid and antioxidants well balanced .
The techniques are recommended for use in cooking and preserves. Applies in soft salads, marinated meats and oily fish emulsions. It´s used to produce mayonnaise , aioli , vinaigrette , marinated fish strong , hot and cold soups , pastas , stir-fries and canned vegetables.
• Picual : its oil is prized for its high stability (very resistant to oxidation ) , due to its high polyphenol content and the high percentage of oleic acid. It is therefore very resistant to high temperatures . Picual varieties have great personality and great body , bitterness and a slight spiciness.
Apply in salads , stir fries , marinated meats, canned vegetables and hunting meats . It is a type of oil ideal for making salads, Andalusian type chips, fries, breaded and battered fish or meat , stews , canned or cooked raw foods ( sausages , cheese…).