I am Italian. I rarely cook with any oil other than olive oil. Not only does it lend a better flavor to your food, it has healthy fats, anti-oxidents and helps to control LDL (bad) cholesterol while raising HDL (good) cholesterol. I think it’s super food.
That’s why I was very excited to learn that there is a proper way to “taste” different varieties of olive oils, just like you would wine or chocolate. The experts at Carapelli sent me a bottle of their Extra Virgin Premium 100% Italian olive oil and asked me to taste it, following the The Four S’s
Pour a little olive oil in a small glass. Hold the glass to warm it a little. Here’s where the four S’s come in – Swirl, Sniff, Slurp and Swallow
1. Swirl – By swirling the olive oil in your glass, you release the oil’s esters, which are the molecules that contain the aroma.
2. Sniff – Now inhale deeply. The aroma is the key to the fruitiness of the oil. Is it intense or is it more subtle?
3. Slurp – Sip the oil while “sipping” in a bit of air. This slurping action emulsifies the oil and helps spread it throughout your mouth. Take note of the various tastes and sensations. Is it fruity, peppery, smooth?
4. Swallow – Once you swallow the oil, it should leave your mouth with no aftertaste. Again, take note of any peppery or stinging sensation in your throat.
I found the Extra Virgin variety to be a little peppery and did leave a slight stinging sensation in my throat. (Which I think makes for a yummy dish.) The more layers of flavors you taste in the oil, the more you’ll taste in your food, and the better quality of olive oil you use, the better your finished dish will taste. You can get a $1.00 OFF coupon at www.CarapelliUSA.com
As I said, I cook with olive oil all the time. Here is one of my Italian Mother’s recipes.
Linguine with Clam Sauce
- 4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 to 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
- a palmful of dried oregano
- 6 bay leaves
- 1 tsp black pepper (or more, to taste)
- 1 tsp seasoned salt
- 3 8oz packages sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 64oz can chopped clams
- 1 small can of clam juice
- fresh basil, chopped
- Parmesan cheese
In a heavy stock pot brown onion and garlic in EVOO. Rub oregano in between palms, crumbling into a powder as your drop it into the pot. Add all remaining ingredients (except for basil and cheese) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. Remove bay leaves. Add fresh basil. Serve over linguine and top with Parmesan cheese.
I like to serve this with a nice, crusty bread and a dry white wine. Yum! Mangia bene! Enjoy!