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Summer: time for salads. The oils in combination

It is not so obvious to combine the extra-virgin olive oil with the different raw materials used. Choosing the best dressing requires a good knowledge of oils

Luigi Caricato, photo by Riccardo Lettieri

In Italy, a land of great extra virgin olive oils, the Olio Officina event is in preparation: this festival will start in 2012 and provides for a full two-day event dedicated to the relationship between food and oil ( One of the subjects under study is combinations. And now, for the readers of Teatro Naturale International, for the summer we propose some suggestions for the oil and foods combinations.

The salads, of course, are well suited to welcome a good extra virgin olive oil. But although it may seem an easy task, it is not at all. The correct combination always requires a bit of study and application.

Now, besides the seasonal vegetables, here you can find some cases of combination, considering the three types of oils derived from the olive, which differ for to the intensity of fruity notes (light, medium and strong).

Light fruity extra virgin olive oil
Delicate and soft, these oils are ideal for delicate raw materials, ranging from lettuce to leeks, more delicate and sweet than onions. These oils are also suitable for the hearts of lettuce, as well as with all salads made with raw meat or fish.

Medium fruity extra virgin olive oil
Since the taste of these oils is round and balanced, and they are generally quite savory, they are suited for salads containing ingredients of medium body, such as vegetables with a strong taste, rich in water or with thick sheets. This is the case of onions, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, fennel, radicchio, radishes and rocket. These oils are also perfect for seafood salads.

Strong fruity extra virgin olive oil
Being distinctly bitter, spicy and astringent oils, they fit with salads whose ingredients are quite tasty and with a good structure and texture. It 's the case of cauliflower, legumes, potatoes, artichokes, chicory and celery.

A tip: do always keep calories under control. The exact dose, enough to dress a salad, is about one teaspoon, the equivalent of 13 ml. With such an amount of oil, you can enjoy a light and frugal meal, without lack of taste and fragrance. It is important, however, to use the right high-quality oil: few fats, but the good ones.

by Luigi Caricato
06 june 2011, Food & Fun > Gastronomy