21 Jul

Gold, olive green, citrine: all colors of olive oils

By Bev Bennett,

Different olive oils complement dishes.

olive oil bottleBut when you’re reaching for oil to use in a salad dressing or for cooking, color isn’t the most important consideration.

Instead you want oil that’s appropriate to your dish, says Alessio Carli, an olive oil and wine maker for Pietra Santa winery near Monterey Bay in California.

He suggests treating your olive oil selections as you do your wines. Read the label to determine whether the oil’s flavor and cooking qualities are suited to your dish.

For example, if the label describes an oil that’s pungent, spicy and peppery, that’s the oil you’ll want to dress a salad or to brush over a piece of bread for bruschetta.

A blended olive oil, which has a softer taste, is better suited for cooking. When preparing turkey or pork cutlets, add a little blended olive oil to the skillet.

Finishing oils are a third category. After you’ve prepared a dish, you may notice that the flavors don’t quite harmonize or are still harsh. Sprinkle on a bit of olive oil, and you’ll taste a difference.

Keeping more than one olive oil on hand may seem like an expensive proposition, but if you buy oil in a half-liter bottle and store it in a cool spot away from heat, you’ll get the most value for your purchase.

But remember Carli’s advice that, “oil doesn’t get better with age as wine does,” and use it.

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