This past week I attended the Beyond Extra Virgin International Conference sponsored by the University of California-Davis Olive Center, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. We were fortunate to have several international acclaimed chefs preparing extraordinary culinary delights demonstrating, of course, the creative use and advantages of quality extra virgin olive oil. Each chef had less than 30 minutes to prepare two or three separate dishes. Therefore, many of these recipes are not complicated and time consuming. You might want to avoid the ones calling for the use of nitrogen. As for me, I have no room in my kitchen for a nitrogen tank. The recipes can be found at
- Contrary to what many celebrity chefs will tell you about cooking with Extra Virgin olive oil, the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone has embarked on crusade to change the notion of many chefs that it's not good to cook with Extra Virgin olive oil. As Darrell Corti, owner of Corti Brothers and one of the most respected experts in the olive oil, food and wine world, has reportedly stated, "if you are worried about the smoke point then you shouldn't be in the kitchen." Cuisines from Puglia, Italy and Crete are widely acclaimed as the healthiest diets in the world and they cook, drizzle and swim in olive oil.
- Extra Virgin olive oil is more than a monounsaturated fat. It has a high polyphenal component which are the antioxidants that prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other diseases. It also adds freshness and flavor. Polyunsaturated oils can't claim any of these.
- Soy has a savory component that can tone down the bitter, high phenolic component (which want for flavor and health benefits) of more robust Extra Virgin olive oils.
- To save the bright green color of basil for pesto blanche the leaves in boiling salt water for a few seconds and then drain.