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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Using Olive Oil in the Kitchen

There are various types of olive oil on your grocery store shelves. It’s easy to reach for Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) or save some money by grabbing Pure Olive Oil. You may wonder what’s the difference? Let’s see if I can help.

EVOO is often considered the top of the line olive oil. It is unrefined and cold-extracted. This allows all the health benefits to remain. It is best used for salad dressings, dipping oil and finishing oil. For cooking purposes, it has a smoking point of 350-410℉. ) The smoking point is when the oil stops shimmering and starts sending out smoke signals. It’s good to know what this is for the different types of oils and fats that you use.) This makes EVOO good for sautéing, roasting, light frying (eggs) and baking.

Pure or regular olive oil is a combination of refined olive oil and 15-25% virgin oil. This leaves the health benefits not as healthy as EVOO. It’s smoking point is around 470℉, making it good for high-heat cooking. The best examples of that are grilling and frying. Enough of the education. Grab your olive oil and Let’s head to the kitchen!

Lemon-Parmesan Dressing

Homemade is always better than store bought. Here’s a quick and easy dressing for your salad. The key ingredient is the Creole mustard. It stabilizes the mixture so it will stay blended.

1 egg yolk

3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons Creole mustard

Dash of hot sauce

1 3/4 cups olive oil

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon lemon zest

3/4 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoons ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolk, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and hot sauce until combined. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly, until combined. Stir in cheese, zest, salt and pepper.

Crabmeat Stuffed Artichoke

Stuffed artichoke is one of my wife’s favorite appetizers. This recipe adds to your dining pleasure with the inclusion of crabmeat.

1 large artichoke

Salted water

2 lemons, divided

2 cups Italian style breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Dash of hot sauce

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 cup lump crabmeat, picked thru for shells

Preheat oven to 400 ℉.

Slice the stem portion of the artichoke off at the bottom so that it will stand vertically. Cut off the top inch of the artichoke and use scissors to trim the points off the leaves.

In a large pot with a heavy lid, add the artichoke. Add enough water to cover the artichoke and pour in the salt. Slice 1 lemon into halves and squeeze into the pot to keep the artichoke from discoloring. Turn the burner on high heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook until tender but not falling apart, about 20 minutes. Check for doneness (the leaves should effortlessly pull out and a knife should easily pierce the bottom). Remove from the hot water and quickly submerge into ice-cold water for 5 minutes as an added means to preserve color. Remove and drain.

In a large mixing bowl, add the breadcrumbs. Mix in all the ingredients except the olive oil and crabmeat. Cut the remaining lemon in half and squeeze half the lemon in the mixing bowl. Slowly drizzle olive oil into breadcrumbs while stirring to achieve a wet consistency, about 1/2 cup. Add the crabmeat and mix together, but try to leave the crab in lumps taking care not to break them up.

Starting from the bottom, pack the mixture into each leaf until every leaf is stuffed. Any remaining mixture should fill the center cavity area. Drizzle the entire stuffed artichoke with the remaining olive oil, squeeze the remaining half of lemon, and bake for 15 minutes or until browned on top.

Olive oil is my go-to when I am cooking other than deep-frying. The health benefits of EVOO is part of the reason that Italians live longer than Americans. With all of the olive oil that I use, I could be around a few years longer.

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