Extra virgin olive oil is a delicious and healthy type of oil. It is very popular in the Mediterranean diet, especially in Puglia, which is famous for its high-quality olive oil. In this post, you will discover why EVOO is a must-have in your kitchen arsenal, and learn simple ways to incorporate it into your cooking with some flavorful Italian recipes.
Why EVOO is good for your health
Extra virgin olive oil is considered to be the healthiest type of olive oil. EVOO has healthy fats and antioxidants. Healthy or “good” fats are the ones that help your heart and your brain, and lower your bad cholesterol. Antioxidants on the other hand protect your cells from damage and aging; they also prevent or fight some diseases, like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Plus, it provides some vitamins E and K, adding to its nutritional value.
At Especially Puglia, we’re dedicated to sourcing only the finest extra virgin olive oils from independent, organic farms. Our focus on sustainable practices, small-batch production, and transparent supply chains guarantees the freshest and purest taste.
How to use EVOO in your cooking
EVOO is an incredibly versatile ingredient. You can use it for salads, soups, pasta, meat, and even desserts. From baking to frying, sautéing, roasting, and drizzling, its uses are endless. Here are 3 tips and suggestions on how to incorporate EVOO in your kitchen:
- Choose the right EVOO for your dish: EVOO must be fresh, ideally within one year from the harvest. EVOO comes in various tastes, ranging from mild and fruity to bitter and spicy. Mild and fruity EVOO is perfect for salads and dressings, while the bitter and spicy types add depth to grilled or roasted dishes. You can try different kinds of EVOO and find your favorites.
- Use EVOO sparingly: EVOO is a healthy and tasty oil, but remember it is still an oil! To avoid eating too much fat and calories, use it sparingly, and measure it with a spoon or a dispenser. A good rule is to use no more than 3-4 spoons of raw EVOO per person per day.
- Use EVOO at the right temperature: EVOO can handle high temperatures, up to 410°F (210°C), without losing its health benefits or making bad substances. However, it can lose some of its taste and aroma when heated, so it is better to use it raw or add it at the end of cooking. If you want to use EVOO for frying, choose a mild and refined kind – and don’t reuse the same oil multiple times.
Recipes with EVOO
EVOO is a wonderful ingredient that can make your dishes more flavorful. Here are some examples of Italian and Pugliese easy recipes with EVOO that you can try at home.
Bruschetta: a classic Italian appetizer, made with toasted bread slices, rubbed with garlic, and topped with chopped tomatoes, basil, salt, and EVOO. It is a simple and appetizing snack, perfect for any occasion. If you want to try a Pugliese variation of bruschetta, add burrata on top.
Friselle: originating from Puglia, these round and crunchy bread slices are made with wheat flour, water, salt, and yeast. They are baked twice and then dried. After wetting them in water for a few seconds, top them with chopped tomatoes, basil, salt, and EVOO. They are a refreshing snack or appetizer, especially in summer.
Spaghetti aglio e olio: a traditional Italian pasta dish, made with just spaghetti, garlic, red pepper flakes, and EVOO. It is a quick and easy meal, full of garlicky flavor and a hint of spice.
Focaccia barese: this soft and fluffy bread is typical of Bari, the capital of Puglia. Made with wheat flour, potatoes, yeast, salt, and EVOO, it’s topped with cherry tomatoes, olives, oregano, and a sprinkle of coarse salt. It is a satisfying and filling meal.
EVOO is a gift from nature – and from the farmers keeping time-honored methods of olive oil production alive! It is not just a powerhouse of health benefits, but it’s a wonderful ingredient that can make your cooking more delicious. But don’t take our word for it… Grab a bottle of EVOO and experiment with it in your kitchen! And if you want to get the best and freshest EVOO, you can adopt an olive tree from Puglia and receive your own EVOO directly at home.