Daily Dose of Olive OilBy: Calvin Mayne | VP of Food
On: August 22, 2012
About 20 years ago I was in New York City attending the International Fancy Food Show. This is an annual event, and one of the key places where we find new foods and meet others in the food biz. This particular visit was memorable because it is where I first fell in love with olive oil. There was a special tasting set up with a few dozen oils from different parts of the world. I went round the tables, talked to importers and producers, and learned about terms such as extra virgin, frantoio, and polyphenols. I excitedly soaked it in and tasted past the point of palate fatigue.
Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to visit many places where oil is produced. And over the years at DLM we’ve hosted olive oil artisans from far flung places such as New Zealand and Portugal. When you get to spend time with Alex Zanetti from Tuscany or Majid Mahjoub from Tunisia or Juan Palomar from Andalusia, you realize that olive oil is not only the base for cuisines for much of the Western world, it brings people together and ignites passion for good eating.
Olive oil’s prominence comes as no surprise when you consider its history, its health attributes, and how good it can make your food taste. Olive oil is spoken of as an integral part of life in the Bible and other books from antiquity. Some of the oil you consume today could easily have come from a tree or orchard that is hundreds of years old. As to health, researchers discovered in recent decades the fats in olive oil are good for your heart, skin, and other organs. And polyphenols, abundant in those strongly flavored extra-virgin olive oils, are some of the best antioxidants (read anti-rust or anti-aging) you can ingest.
We take great care at DLM to give you a good selection of extra- virgin olive oil, meeting the importer or producer, and tasting every one we offer. A good bottle is worth the price. If you are willing to plunk down 20 bucks for a dinner that is gone in one sitting, why not spend the same on a bottle of oil that can last a few weeks, making dozens of meals more healthy and tasty? Collect and try a few bottles. Just make sure to keep them in a cool place, well sealed, and away from light. How can you use extra-virgin oil? Many, many ways.
Contrary to popular opinion, you can cook with extra-virgin olive oil, provided you don’t use high heat such that the oil burns and smokes. Here is one idea: buy a bottle of our own Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, a dozen local free-range eggs from Morning Sun Organic Farms, a loaf of our Bakery’s Farmhouse Bread, and a nice ripe tomato. Heat a frying pan to low heat, add about a tablespoon of the oil, and gently fry an egg sunny-side up or over easy. As it is frying, add a small pinch of salt and a twist of freshly ground pepper. Meanwhile, toast the bread. Once the bread is toasted, rub it with a cut half of the tomato (this bread/tomato thing combined with oil is reminiscent of a simple specialty of Catalonia, Spain). Slide the egg along with the oil it was cooked in right on the slice of tomato-rubbed toast. So simple, so healthy, so tasty…
May I suggest that you make good extra-virgin olive oil a prominent part of your household’s meals this fall? As I write this, we are in early August still enjoying a bounty of life-giving local fruit and vegetables, yet as fall approaches we still want to eat healthy. Extra-virgin olive oil can help you do just that now and on through the colder months. Indeed, life is better when you include a daily dose of extra-virgin olive oil.