Salmon Poached in Extra Virgin Olive Oil Recipe

Salmon is one favorite fish to cook and eat. It is readily available, can be cooked in so many ways, and is a tasty fish to enjoy. Many don’t know that salmon skin is absolutely delicious when deep-fried with skin on. It is crispy and tasty, but cooking it without burning is rather an acquired skill. The skin, making direct contact with the pan or grill, is most likely to burn before the inside of the salmon is cooked.

The best way to ensure the fish is thoroughly cooked is to use the method of sous vide. It is a French method of cooking, where the food, in this case the salmon, is placed inside the food bag, along with its seasoning or herbs. It is then vacuum-sealed using a vacuum-sealer, which locks in the flavors of the seasonings and herbs. The vacuum-sealed food bag is then given a water bath in a sous vide water oven or using a sous vide immersion. It is important that the food bag is tightly sealed to lock in flavors, and to prevent water from entering the bag, thus ruining or diluting the flavors. As important as the sous vide equipment is the vacuum-sealing system you use. A countertop vacuum sealer can do the trick, and most models these days are automatic, making it so easy to use. After the pre-set cooking time is done, remove the salmon, and give it a quick searing on the grill or pan to make the skin crispy.

Another way to enjoy salmon is poaching it. It is a method of cooking where the food is submerged in water, or in this case, we are going to use extra virgin olive oil for added flavor and to make this meal totally healthy and good for the heart.

Ingredients: (good for 4)

King salmon fillet, center-cut, skin and bones removed, 1 lb.

Fennel bulbs, stalks trimmed off, fronts removed for later use, 2 pcs.

Granulated sugar.

Kosher salt.

Extra virgin olive oil.

Canola oil.

Orange, 12 segments.

For the glaze:

Blood Oranges, 8 pcs.

Granulated sugar, 3 tbsp.

Kosher salt.

Extra virgin olive oil.

Brine for poaching:

Kosher salt, 3.5 tbsps.

Granulated sugar, 3 tbsps.

1.5 cups iced water.

1.5 cups warm water.

Fleur de sel (garnish).

Preparations:

  1. Mix the ingredients for brine;
  2. Put the salmon in the brine mixture, rubbing it on the fish for 10 minutes, then rinse off the brine and pat-dry the fish with paper towel;
  3. Rub olive oil all over the salmon, then place inside food bag;
  4. Vacuum-seal the food bag;
  5. Put the vacuum-sealed food bag inside the water bath at 60 degrees Celsius for 8 minutes to get medium rare salmon;
  6. Remove from water bath and put aside;
  7. Put the fennel bulbs inside food bags, vacuum-seal;
  8. Put the food bags inside the sous vide water bath at 85 degrees Celsius for 1 hour and 15 minutes;
  9. Put salmon on plate, with fennel bulbs on the side. Pour the orange glaze on top of the salmon;
  10. Put some fleur de sel as garnish, and enjoy.

This dish is a burst of flavor with the buttery-texture of salmon and the acidic taste of the oranges. Salmon is brain food, rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Extra virgin olive oil is good for the heart. This dish gives you delicious food, and also nutritious food.

7 Ways to Liven Your Week by using An Olive a Day

There are different varieties of olives, and each one has its own specific characteristics that make it ideal for special recipes. For everyday of the week, you can have your olives and a new way of preparing it.

Here are 7 kinds of olives:

KALAMATA

It is a specialty of Greece and is so different because of its color of deep purple. This can be used to brine or pickle and you would love the rich sweet flavor in your salad. Like all olives, this healthy food is a good source of monounsaturated fats (MUFAS) which regulate cholesterol level and keeps you away from cardio diseases.

MANZANILLA

This is abundant in Spain and California. The size varies from small to medium, is colored green, and great to eat as a snack, or you can stuff it with garlic or pimiento for a different thrill. This is rich in vitamin E. and boosts anti-oxidants to fight off bacteria and viruses.

LUGANO

If you like guacamole, you can add zest to it with finely-chopped Lugano olives from Italy. This variety of olives is bitter and salty, and is colored black. Eat a good portion of this because of its hydroxytyrosol, which helps prevent breast cancer.

PONENTINE

This black olive tastes great when brined. Its delicate taste makes it a good ingredient in a pasta dish, and understandably, it follows that this is a favorite in Italian dishes in general. Ponentine is rich in vitamins A, E and K that boosts immune system, and also contains calcium and iron for healthy teeth and bones.

NICOISE

If you are a bit nutty, and want some nutty flavor to your bread, add these small-sized black olives when baking. This is variety is so French, and is a good aid if you are on diet. It stimulates digestion, and breaks down carbohydrates.

PICHOLINE

Talk about French, the Picholine is another favorite. If you brine and pickle it, it brings out the mild yet salty taste of the olive that makes it a delicious addition to salads. Aside from its flavor, it also reduces the incidents of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

OLIVE TAPENADE

It is not a variety of olives, but a method of preparation where the olives is crushed and blended with lemon juice, capers, olive oil and fresh parsley. It can be a great appetizer when served on top of crackers or toasted bread. You can use any variety of olives to make a tapenade. You can also mix the different varieties to experiment on flavor.

Olives and all its varieties are rich in vitamins and minerals that keep the heart healthy. It controls cholesterol level and prevents blockages. It is also great in processing digestion. It has anti-inflammatory properties that prevent inflammations.

Tips for Pairing Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Food

Olive oil is an acquired taste, just like wine. It takes some experience to know which foods to use olive oil on so the flavors will complement each other. There are times, too, that you can experiment towards contrasting flavors instead. Each kind of olive oil and each brand for that matter, has its own character, and you have to learn how not to overpower flavors and how to bring out different tastes.

Cooking with meat

One of my favorite processes that involve olive oil is sous vide cooking, particularly with the premium cut steaks. This is a method of cooking where the meat is mixed with flavors and seasonings, placed inside a food bag, vacuum-sealed to seal in the goodness and finally given a water bath in controlled temperature. This method absolutely brings out the best in the meat. It is tender and juicy because of the water bath that thoroughly cooks it inside and out without drying it up and it is full of flavors because vacuum-sealing locks in the tastes of the olive oil and herbs, infusing the meat so each bite is tender and delicious.

Pairing with vegetables

Vegetables make a good side dish for any main course, particularly if you are having the flavor-infused steak that has been cooked sous vide. You can give the vegetables a quick stir-fry in olive oil, or you can broil them and drizzle some olive oil on top before serving. You can also make barbecue vegetables and use olive oil to brush on top of it while being cooked. Or very simply, use olive oil as a dip for vegetable appetizers. To make the dip, combine in a container the olive oil, olives, red pepper flakes and garlic.

Pairing with fish

You can sous vide a big fish, or broil it. Use olive oil to brush on top to keep it moist and to infuse the flavors in. You can also opt to deep-fry in olive oil or poach it in a skillet.

Pairing the different kinds of olive oil

  • Light and delicate olive oil is slightly fruity, slightly bitter, and more buttery. It pairs great with salad, fish, eggs and used for baking;
  • Medium-flavored olive oils are fruity, bitter and a bit peppery. You can pair them with avocadoes, artichokes and nuts. You can match them with grilled vegetables, grilled meats, or use on pasta or as a dip;
  • Intense flavored olive oil is spicy, bold, grassy, and peppery, with hints of herbs and tomatoes. These are best enjoyed with strong cheese, seafood, potatoes, in soups and stews, as a pasta sauce and in spicy dishes.

Tips in buying olive oil

There are so many kinds and different grades to choose from. Here are tips when buying your olive oil:

  • Know the source. Most of the olive oil in the US is imported from Spain, Italy and Greece. For domestic source, California produces the most olive oil. Olive oil from Spain and Greece tend to be fairly mild. Italian has more flavor.
  • Consider the price. The most expensive is the extra-virgin olive oil. Choose the mid-range. The cheaper ones can be oil blends, and not pure olive oil. Check the label that it says 100% olive oil.
  • Go for smaller size. You want your olive oil as fresh as possible so keeping a big bottle for longer time is not recommended. If unopened, the olive oil can stay for a year. If opened, it has to be used within 8 weeks. Keep your olive oil away from light and heat.

Is Cooking With Olive Oil Good for Health?

Frying as a method of cooking is not particularly healthy. However, it can be if you are using extra-virgin olive oil. It has compounds that prevent cancer, heart diseases and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s. Olive oil is a healthy kind of fat called monounsaturated (MUFAS). While olive oil itself is proven to be healthy, there are some arguments about using it for cooking. Let us qualify the different points and determine exactly how healthy this option is.

Is it healthy to deep fry?

Yes. Deep frying enables the compound phenols from the extra-virgin olive oil to transfer to the food being fried. Based on the experiment, vegetables deep-fried in extra-virgin olive oil became enriched with phenols from the cooking oil, and improved in quality.

The qualities of olive oil degenerates the least when deep-fried as compared with other kinds of oil. The experiment fried different kinds of cooking oil for six hours, and after such length of time, only olive oil was ‘resistant to degeneration’.

Is it healthy to pan-fry?

When you pan-fry extra-virgin olive oil, there is actually faster degeneration compared to deep frying. Experts explain this is due to higher exposure to oxygen in the atmosphere. However, if compared with other kinds of cooking oil, when you pan fry, olive oil still retains its anti-oxidants, and is therefore still the healthier option.

Is it healthy to boil in plain water?

The experiment conducted 60-minute boiling of carrots, potatoes and onions with extra-virgin olive oil. Boiling does not cause oxidation. However, if you put olive oil 15 minutes before the end of the boiling, the elements which help fight off cancer are increased in the vegetables.

Is it healthy to roast?

This experiment was conducted using different kinds of oil, meat and vegetables that were all placed inside an oven. Again, olive oil did not oxidize during the process. It means it does not promote free radicals which cause damage on cells, which may lead to cancer.

Know your olive oil

Olive oil comes from olives that are extracted when olives are pressed. Not all olive oil are created equal. There are variations in the processes. For instance, for extra-virgin and virgin oils, there is no further processing after the extraction. As a result of these variations, there are three grades of olive oil and under each grade are several types.

  1. Extra virgin olive oil

    • Premium extra-virgin
    • Extra-virgin
  2. Virgin oil

    • Fine virgin oil
    • Virgin oil
    • Semi-fine virgin oil
  3. Olive oil

    • Pure olive oil
    • Refined oil

Tips when cooking with olive oil

So now we have established that any method of cooking, when done with olive oil, is still the healthiest way to cook. Here are more tips to heighten the experience:

  • Cook with olive oil plus spices to bring out more complimentary flavors;
  • Extra-virgin olive oil is best used uncooked or cooked at low temperatures;
  • While olive oil is healthy, it still has fats in it so use with discretion if you are trying to lose weight;
  • Do not re-use oils. Old oil breeds free radicals which are harmful on our bodies;
  • Use olive oil as vinaigrette on your salads. It is healthy and its taste compliments with the vegetables, enhancing their delicious flavors;
  • Drizzle it on anything – on pasta dishes or on crackers for appetizers;
  • Use it as alternative to butter – even when baking.

Tips in storing olive oil

Olive oil actually stores and stays longer than other kinds of oils, mainly because of its MUFAS. Olive oil has to be preserved correctly to maintain its healthful properties. Otherwise, stored the wrong way, it will instead be a health hazard with its free radicals.

In choosing a location to store it, remember these tips:

  • Keep away from air, light and heat, not only will it breed free radicals, it will cause your olive oil to be rancid;
  • Store in tinted glass or stainless steel with lids. It has to keep light out and not react to oil;
  • Avoid storage containers made from plastic or iron or copper;
  • For long term storage, keep refrigerated, except for the premium extra-virgin olive oil;
  • If the refrigerated olive oil solidifies, return to room temperature when ready to use;
  • Keep smaller amount of olive oil in room temperature for everyday use, in sealed glass or porcelain container.

Conclusion

Is cooking with olive oil healthy? Yes, it is. Among the methods of cooking, deep frying in high heat does change the properties of the oil used, regardless what kind it is. This results to oxidation, hydrolysis, and other chemical changes. However, among all kinds of oils, olive oil remains to be the more resistant against oxidation and production of free radicals. So if you are going to use cooking oil, use olive oil instead. If you are going to cook using olive oil, try other methods like roasting instead of deep frying. The best way to enjoy its health benefits though is to consume olive oil in its purest form – raw and unprocessed as a salad dressing or as a drizzled bit on your crackers.

Amazing Thanksgiving Dishes with Olive Oil

Thanksgiving officially starts the eating season. We all appreciate the turkey, pies and every delicious and fattening bit of food. Instead of butter, a healthier alternative is to use olive oil. It is more delicious and a hundred times healthier. Try it on these recipes:

APPETIZER

In a bowl, mix olive oil and some herbs. Put some baguette on a platter, and have your guests enjoy the bread and dip. You can also drizzle olive oil on dips and cheese plates for added color and heightened flavor. Butter, when left out too long, can congeal and not be appetizing anymore, but with olive oil, you don’t have to worry about it.

MAIN COURSE

The turkey is the main star, but sometimes, inexperienced cooks tend to fear preparing the turkey no matter how they condition their minds that it is just a bigger version of a chicken.  Use olive oil instead of butter so you don’t have to labor in trying to get butter between the flesh and skin of the bird. Mix olive oil and some herbs, and spread it all over the chicken, inside and out. You can also inject some of this special mixture into the bird’s breast and thighs. For added flavor, sprinkle salt and pepper. You can also stuff inside the turkey some lemons and herbs for a delicious smell and to make sure the turkey remains moist and flavorful.

SIDE DISHES

Your guests will surely have eyes on the turkey alone, but the big star also needs some supporting cast. Vegetables are a great side dish, and you can lightly cook it in olive oil, with seasoning of salt and pepper. Or you can use olive oil as a glaze to your carrots or sweet potatoes.

Instead of using butter on your mashed potatoes, use olive oil and some herbs instead. It will add zing to the color, and it is a healthier option, too.

For this Thanksgiving meal, make olive oil the main attraction. It will make your turkey more delicious and moist, and your vegetables will have added flavor to it. If you have salad on the side, use olive oil as dressing. Holiday eating can be delicious and nutritious. Choose the better option; choose olive oil.

Using Extra Virgin Olive Oil Better for Frying Fish

Frying as a method of cooking is not the healthiest option. Firstly, the method of frying matters. When deep frying, the whole food is immersed in oil and fat. When shallow-frying, there is no complete immersion so this is the healthier option. Secondly, thecooking oil you use will not only affect the taste of your food, but more importantly, it may be unhealthy for your body.

Extra-virgin olive oil or EVOO is the healthier option. Even when frying fish, the component in EVOO affects the fats in the fish.

The Fishy Details

Experts conducted a study using two kinds of cooking oil – sunflower oil and EVOO.

In the first test, no food was used, but the oils were fried.

In the second test, fish fillets of gilthead sea bream and European sea bass were fried using a microwave and a pan to hold the fish. Oil temperature was at 340 degrees Fahrenheit, and the fillets were cooked for 2 ½ minutes on each side. After this process, lipids or fats were extracted from the fish cooked in sunflower oil and in EVOO.

It can be concluded then that fish lipids or fish fats have migrated across or transferred to the fried oils. Results showed that using EVOO, the oil was richer in saturated fats and omega 3 after frying.

On the flip side, character of the oil also transferred to the fish during cooking. After the process, fish had more oleic polyphenols after being cooked in EVOO.

In the experiment, it was concluded that sunflower oil easily oxidizes and degrades compared to EVOO. In short, overall, EVOO is more stable than sunflower oil when used to fry fish.

The oil you use greatly affects the fish being cooked. It can be toxic compounds that are generated when frying, but with EVOO, you are safe from this fear. EVOO is definitely the healthier option.

Mediterranean diet with extra virgin olive oil and health

Research shows that cancer and other chronic diseases can be prevented or avoided if you strictly adhere to the Mediterranean diet.

What do you think is in Mediterranean diet that makes it so healthy? Loads of olive oil. The purer it is, the healthier it is. So if you are talking olive oil, choose the extra-virgin olive oil, its purest form called the ‘liquid gold’.

What’s in the oil?

Healthy fats. All our lives we were told not to eat fats like oil and butter because it can clog the heart and well, fatten the stomachs and hips. Well this time, there is actual research that shows that the good kind of fats is good.

Monounsaturated Fats or MUFA make up olive oil. This kind of fat is good for the heart. It lowers bad cholesterol or LDL, which when left untreated, clogs the arteries. This results to stroke and other heart diseases.

Oil vs. diseases

Studies show that if you take as much olive oil as you can, it can lower your risk of having heart or cardiovascular diseases. Also cancer and diabetes.

Aside from regulating the bad cholesterol, olive oil also prevents blood clots that cause heart attack and stroke.

Olive oil is full of anti-oxidants that fight off cancer cells.

MUFA also controls insulin and blood sugar levels, lowering the risk for type 2 diabetes, which is the more common type of diabetes. It means your body is insulin-resistant, or does not process insulin properly.  If left untreated, you would need to have insulin shots to sustain body functions.

Mediterranean recipes

Aside from olive oil, there are a few more staples in the Mediterranean cuisine that are also healthy:

  • Garlic is good for the immune system;
  • Chili, whether fresh or dried, has anti-oxidants;
  • Honey has anti-microbial properties, and also sweetens food naturally;
  • Lemon juice is good source of vitamin C.

When you combine these other ingredients with olive oil, then you really are for a healthy treat.

7 health benefits of using olive oil for our recipes

Matera in Southern Italy produces one of the best, if not the best and purest extra-virgin olive oil in the world. Its hills are abundant with the round and fleshy olive fruits that are gently picked and cold-pressed within 24 hours to control acidity level.

The Character of Olive Oil

Olive oil comes from countries like Spain and Italy, found in the Mediterranean region. It is usually used in cooking, as a salad dressing, and also in cosmetics, soaps and pharmaceuticals. It also has religious significance in some religions.

Olive oil comes in different varieties as olives come in variety. They can vary in terms of flavor, texture and shelf life. Olive oil is classified according to its purity. The highest and purest form is the extra-virgin olive oil, which means it has not gone through chemical treatment. Other classifications are Virgin Oil, Ordinary Virgin Oil and Lampante Virgin Oil.

The Health benefits of olive oil

Because of its purity, olive oil is good for the health.

  1. It is healthy food for the heart

The fat in olive oil is monounsaturated fat (MUFA), which can lower cholesterol level, particularly the bad cholesterol LDL. When the bad cholesterol is lowered, your arteries are not clogged and you are not at risk for strokes or heart diseases. Olive oil also normalizes blood clots. Instead of using butter or other kinds of oil, replace it with olive oil instead.

  1. It is full of anti-oxidants to fight off cancer

Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant, and lowers the growth of free radicals in the body, which can cause damages on healthy cells. In the long run, it can damage blood vessels and DNA, and can lead to cancer.

  1. It regulates blood pressure, preventing high blood pressure

The MUFA found in olive oil has high content of essential fatty acids called Omega-3. Along with MUFA, Omega-3 lowers blood pressure and keeps the heart healthy. Omega-3 can only be sourced from food like olive oil as our bodies do not produce Omega-3.

  1. It regulates mood, particularly depression

Aside the above-listed physical health benefits, olive oil is also good for emotional well-being. A study supports that higher intake of olive oil lowers the risk of mental illness.

  1. It prevents osteoporosis

This is a medical condition where the bones become fragile and brittle due to hormonal changes or lack of calcium or vitamin D.

Olive oil has enough calcium content to positively affect bone density, thus preventing osteoporosis.

  1. It lowers tendencies towards Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s comes with aging. It is a mental disorder or cognitive decline that includes memory loss and difficulty in language, thinking or problem-solving. An olive oil extract, oleocanthal, can protect from you from Alzheimer’s.

  1. It has anti-inflammatory properties

Olive oil contains anti-inflammatory properties like those found in ibuprofen that can help in rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic or acute inflammations.

Cooking with olive oil

There is much debate going on whether it is safe to cook with olive oil in high heat. Food experts say that olive oil has a ‘smoke point’. It means that at 320 degrees Fahrenheit, extra virgin olive oil will start to break down and lose its character that contains health benefits, and instead, at such high heat, it will produce chemicals that are bad for the body.

However, medical doctors and researchers assure us that olive oil is stable under heat or when used in cooking. The component MUFA makes it more resistant than other kinds of oils.

So go ahead and enjoy your olive oil when you stir-fry, or use it as a replacement of butter. Not only is it delicious, and it also has loads of health benefits.

Italian LA MAJATICA OIL

‘Liquid gold’ is the name given to the valuable extra-virgin olive oil from the hills of Matera in Southern Italy. Olives originated from Asia, but olives that now grow in Mediterranean countries like Spain and Italy are one of the best in the world because of the climate in these places that suit the growth of olives. Among the different kinds of olive oil, the extra-virgin olive oil has the best flavor and best quality.

For half a century now, the Valluzzi olive-press produces top quality extra-virgin olive oil from only one particular kind of olives, the cultivar majatica, thus the name La Majatica. These high-quality olives grow abundantly in that little town of Materano in Basilicata. It is lovingly and gently picked, and within 24 hours, it goes through the cold-press method to ensure the low acid level of the olive oil.

The Big Difference

What makes the olive oil from Matera so different? It comes from beautifully grown, healthy olives that give a delicate fragrance. The oil is processed within one day from picking so the acid level is lower. The color is a magical shade of green with yellow reflections. The taste is delicate and fruity, although a bit bitter and ends with an elegant spicy touch that balances the whole experience. In general, extra-virgin olive oil is pure on how it looks tastes and smells.

The La Majatica extra-virgin oil is best used to flavor food that is lightly cooked, and with delicate aroma. It can be used on salads and fish recipes.

Harvesting Gold

The La Majatica olives are gently picked, done manually during the last quarter of the year – October to November. Another method of picking is to use miniature mechanical vibrators that will cause them to fall. To avoid bruising them, nets are placed around the trees to catch the olives. They are then placed in crates without lids and taken to the mill where they are processed within 24 hours.

There are suction machines which separate the olives from the leaves and twigs. Then it is placed back into the open crates where they are crushed or broken. The next phase is the mixing and slow re-mixing to get the olive paste. This paste is placed into the mixer where the oil is separated. Then there is the extraction where the paste is removed, and you get olive oil, olive residue and vegetation water. The final step is the separation using the centrifuge separator to totally separate the oily part from the vegetation water.

Benefits of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Compared with other kinds of oil, the extra-virgin olive oil has these benefits:

  • It is rich in vitamin K and E, and beneficial fatty acids;
  • Contains anti-oxidants which fight off diseases like cancer;
  • Fights inflammations that are linked to heart diseases, diabetes and arthritis;
  • Prevents blood clots;
  • Lowers blood pressure;
  • Boosts circulation of blood;
  • Promotes longevity.

Food Uses

  • Use when cooking pasta for added rich flavor;
  • To bake bread, mixing it in the recipe and for brushing on top;
  • Olive oil biscotti;
  • Foudjou, a cheese spread with olive oil and herbs;
  • Seasoning for chicken recipes, like olive oil confit chicken;
  • As a drink ‘ Olive 7 Ways’which mixes extra-virgin olive oil with dry vermouth.

Uses of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

More than just cooking, here are the other uses of extra-virgin olive oil:

  • Use on your meals and it helps weight loss;
  • Pain relief with its anti-inflammatory powers;
  • Prevents aging on skin and other damage;
  • Beautifies skin, especially stretch marks.

This ‘liquid gold’ has put Matera in the map.  Its hills are blessed with abundance of this special kind of olives.  From their farm to our kitchens, enjoy!