Written by: Cally Worden
The delightful nutty flavour of olive has helped make it a store cupboard staple in many kitchens across the UK. Traditionally used to bring a touch of the Mediterranean to our meals, this versatile oil can be added to all kinds of foods to bring a richness that makes the mouth water. Give the following suggestions a whirl; you may discover a fresh recipe to add to your regular repertoire of favourites.
1: Get Liberal with the Drizzle
I tend to have a limited range of meals onto which I’ll automatically drizzle olive oil. Quite why I’ve never experimented with it on other things I’m not sure … so it’s time to give it a try. Adding olive oil to crispy crudit√©s and fresh or roasted fruit may seem strange, but it really does enhance the flavour and adds a lovely slippery richness to complement the crunch beneath. Adding it to chargrilled veggies after cooking creates a sublime blend of flavours that act like a seasoning to really make the flavour of the foods stand out.
2: Get Cheeky with the Chocolate
I was dubious when I came across the idea of swirling a little olive oil into soft chocolate foods, or even using it as a dip when eating a few chunks of good quality dark stuff. But the results surprised me. A small drizzle whisked into chocolate mousse, or carefully laced over chocolate ice cream seems to enhance rather than over power the distinct flavours of each. The oily texture I’m not altogether sure about, but I reckon I could get used to it.
3: Get Slick with the Salad
Oil of some form is a cornerstone of most salad dressings; using olive oil in this way is nothing new. But many of us stop short in using it only on leafy salads and are missing a trick. The robust nature of the olive oil flavour makes it an ideal partner for other strong tastes – try mixing it with tuna or grilled chicken before tossing these into your salad. Try adding it to rice, grain or pasta salads, it provides a healthy alternative to creamy mayonnaise or salad cream.
4: Get Smarter with the Butter
Olive oil enhanced spreads are all over the chiller shelves in the supermarket and they taste great. Why not try taking this to the next level, use olive oil on its own to replace your butter or margarine altogether? Olive oil on sweet corn, jacket spuds or steamed veg brings vibrancy to their flavours that butter can’t match. And consider using it as a substitute for butter when baking, or on toast with honey or jam for new taste sensations that are better for your heart.
5: Get Creative with the Cream
I guess combining creamy products with olive oil is a little decadent, but imagine the richness of flavour that can be created? Olive oil aficionados swear by adding a light drizzle of their favourite blend to basic ice cream flavours, or adding a small glug to their morning yoghurt before topping with fresh berries and toasted nuts or spices. It even works well as a side dip to a plate of robust cheeses. Go on treat yourself!