Cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil for the Holidays
With all the craziness of 2020 time has had an odd way of both speeding up and dragging on, and so it seems both inviting and unbelievable that the holidays are already almost upon us. Waking up to cool, crisp mornings, seeing the beautiful reds and golds of the changing leaves it is not too hard to think about all the cozy meals that you have been saving up for exactly this time. Who else is ready for roasted veggies, butternut squash soup, steaming mugs of cider and all the crockpot recipes your heart desires?
Fall is by far one of our favorite seasons at Cobram Estate and it’s not just because the produce is truly magical, it is because fall is when our yearly olive harvest happens. The months of October and November are filled with excitement and promise as we begin to harvest all the glorious fruit that our trees have worked so hard to grow for us, and we get the honor of pressing and bottling the delicious oil. We then get to use this oil, fresh off the press, to create some of our absolute favorite seasonal and holiday ready dishes.
Now, we know that it may be hard to believe, but there are still folks out there who do not know that not only is it safe to cook with fresh extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), you can even fry with it! That’s right, a scientific research paper published in 2018 tested various common cooking oils and how they performed when heated with the hopes of finally putting the age-old debate to rest as to what oils are best and safest to cook with. The way they did this was by investigating the development of harmful polar compounds, which are a by-products that develop when oils are exposed to heat. Exposure to polar compounds are proven to be detrimental to health and linked to diseases associated with aging and oxidative stress. They found that the less double bonds (or greater degree of “saturation”) and more natural antioxidants in oils like EVOO and coconut oil curb the formation of dangerous polar compounds. The antioxidants prevent the formation of polar compounds by sacrificing themselves to protect the structure of that fat, keeping it in its original form. The cooking oils that developed the most polar compounds were the ones that are most recommended for frying, such as canola oil, rice bran oil and grapeseed oil, which all have higher degrees of unsaturation. It was also found that the “smoke-point” of an oil does not correlate to the development of polar compounds and is not an effective tool to tell if you can or cannot cook with an oil. To learn more about cooking with EVOO, check out this article by the Olive Wellness Institute, a peer-reviewed science repository on the nutrition, health, and wellness benefits of olives.
Now, with keeping that in mind, it is time to talk about all the glorious things that you can, and should, be cooking with EVOO! One of the best things about Cobram Estate’s EVOO’s is that there is an oil for everything, so you truly can use EVOO for all your cooking needs. At Mother’s Market you can find Cobram Estate 100% California Classic and 100% California Robust flavors. You can also find our ultra-premium line up, comprising of our unique 100% California Select and our 100% Australia Select. Cobram Estate’s Select line is unique because Australian harvest is in May, and California harvest is in October, which means that you will always be able to buy EVOO that is 6 months fresh. This is key, because the fresher the oil, the better it is for you, and the better the flavor. At Cobram Estate, we are obsessed with fresh. Here are some of our favorite ways to add extra EVOO to your holiday cooking!
- Roasted brussel sprouts with Cobram 100% California Classic with fresh ground salt and pepper finished with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice.
- Grilled meats using Cobram 100% California Robust EVOO. This oil packs a flavor punch and can stand up to the big bold flavors of most meaty delights. Try it on a beef roast or tri-tip and drizzle a little extra on top after slicing for an extra kick.
- Fresh hearty autumn salads with pecans, raisins and a maple balsamic vinaigrette made fresh with Cobram 100% Australia Select EVOO. This oil is super fruity and pairs well in pretty much any salad, and it is mild enough that you can even use it in most baking recipes as a butter replacement!
- Butternut squash soup! It does not get more fall forward than that! Simply chop some squash, apples and onions, cover it all in Cobram 100% California Select EVOO and roast it until tender. Then let them cool a bit and pop everything into a blender with some chicken stock and pure until your desired consistency is met! Make sure you fry up some sage leaves in Cobram EVOO too and use them as a crispy garnish.
There are countless different applications for olive oil in the kitchen, these are just a few that we have been cooking up recently! Make sure you also try it on your chicken or Thanksgiving turkey; EVOO helps give the skin an extra crispy golden color and rich flavor. Find our olive oil at your local Mother's. We hope that you and your families have wonderful and safe holidays this season and we can’t wait to see what you all cook up with your Cobram Estate extra virgin olive oil. Make sure to tag us in your stories or posts @cobramestateusa on Facebook and Instagram.
Happy Holidays from your friendly Cobram Estate family up in Woodland, California!