I love cooking with olive oil for dinner and really anything pan fried, but I recently meet with the International Olive Council and learned about its benefits as well as new recipe ideas for entertaining. The Council, who is not associated with any brand, shared information about how olive oil is rich in monosaturated fatty acids and a variety of compounds including polyphenols and flavonoids, which have significant anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a good source of iron, dietary fiber and vitamin E (a fat-soluble antioxidant). Some studies have show that it has a beneficial effect on ulcers, can help with menopause and reduce the severity of asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (read more about the studies here).
That combined with it rich taste that it brings to food makes olive oil the perfect addition to numerous dishes. What I found unexpected is that olive oil can be enjoyed in recipes from appetizers to main dishes to cocktails. Here are a few of our favorites:
(Appetizer) Spiced Green Olives:
Makes 3 cups
2 cups (10 ounces) green olives (with pits) in brine, such as Picholine or Cerignola, lightly smashed to crack open slightly
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne
3 thyme sprigs
1 orange halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon harissa paste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Toast cumin and coriander in a dry skillet over medium heat until the spices begin to color a bit. Coarsely grind in a spice mill or mortar.
Mix the olives with the cumin, coriander, garlic, paprika, cayenne, thyme, orange, harissa paste, and olive oil.
Let the olives marinate for a couple of hours. They’ll keep for a week in the refrigerator.
(Cocktails) The Tuscan:
- 1 ounce pitted green olives
- 1 cilantro sprig
- 1 thin slice habanero pepper
- 3 ounces 12 year single malt Scotch
- 2 golden/orange bell peppers, juiced (or purÃ©ed, then strained)
- 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1 medium heirloom tomato, juiced (or purÃ©ed, then strained)
- 1 ounce yellow Chartreuse
- 1 tablespoon feta cheese
- ½ teaspoon minced cilantro
- 2 pitted large green olives
Muddle 1 ounce of green olives, cilantro and habanero in a shaker. Add Scotch, bell pepper juice, lemon juice, tomato juice, and Chartreuse. Add ice and shake. Strain into martini glasses. Mash the minced cilantro into the feta cheese until incorporated and stuff the large green olives; skewer to garnish.
Created by Mixologist Ryan Goodspeed
(Main Dish): Chicken with Quinoa
4 to 6 servings
- 2/3 cup reduced sodium chicken broth or water
- 2/3 cup water
- 2/3 cup red or original quinoa
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1½ inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large tomato, cored and chopped
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted green olives
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
Bring broth and water to a boil in medium saucepan. Stir in quinoa; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; let stand covered 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine flour and salt (if desired) in large plastic food storage bag. Add chicken; toss to coat. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add chicken mixture; cook and stir 3 minutes. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir 2 minutes.
Stir in tomato, olives and oregano. Cover; bring to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat 5 to 10 minutes or until chicken is 170′¦F. in center and no longer pink and tomato is soft. Serve over quinoa.
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