Saturday, March 24, 2007

Olio Crudo

Olio crudo literally means raw oil (versus cooked), which does not sound so appetizing. However, it is probably the best way to eat extra virgin olive oil. Amelia oil is perfect crudo and can be used for finishing grilled meats and vegetables as well as drizzled on salads and breads. Think of it as a condiment that is applied to food after cooking to give it a little more flavour, just like salt or pepper. Best of all, if you eat your oil 'raw' you get the most health benefits and don't lose any of the flavour. Cooking tends to break down the chemical composition of oil, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but fresh oil does lose some of its punch and fruitiness in the process.

Rick at Meinhardt's feels there is no point in cooking with extra virgin olive oil because of this loss of flavour and olive oil's smoking point (410F). After years of living and cooking in Italy, I am more of the traditionalist school and cook everything using extra virgin. Butter, canola--what's that? I figure Italian cuisine is pretty tasty so why change the basics. I have never met an Italian who cooks with grape seed or canola oil. Call me a purist and I am sure Rick is correct from a technical-chemical perspective, but I am still a bit of a romantic casalinga in the kitchen.

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