Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The antioxidant content and high proportion of monounsaturated fat that occur naturally in olive oil have been proven to help prevent common life-threatening conditions aggravated by saturated fat, including coronary disease. “Swapping 2 tablespoons of olive oil every day for saturated fat can protect your heart by lowering ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol,” says Karen Ansel, MS, RD, a media representative for the New York State Dietetic Association. Extra virgin varieties also contain a plant chemical called oleocanthal, which was recently shown to be a natural anti-inflammatory.
Choose It & Use It
Choose oils from a single country. A North American Olive Oil Association or California Olive Oil Council seal certifies extra virgin grade. The latter ensures a low 0.5 percent fatty acid content, indicating fresher oil and more antioxidants. Check pressing dates; most stay fresh two years. Store in dark glass bottles in a cool, dark place. Cook with standard oilssave premium oils for dressing salads, dipping bread, or finishing cooked dishes.
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No-Cook Cannellini Salad with Pesto Dressing
A cook who has a delicious prepared pesto within arm’s reach is a bit like a woman who owns a perfect little black dress: Both are always ready at a moment’s notice to face an expectant public. In this recipe, the pesto is tossed with white beans to create anmore
Quick Pesto with Broiled Tomatoes
Broiled, vine-ripened tomatoes are a seasonal vehicle for fresh basil pesto. Serve warm or at room temperature.more
Portobello Carpaccio with Orange-Kalamata Tapenade
Slicing mushrooms on the bias, angling the knife, rather than cutting perpendicular to the cutting board makes for broader but not thicker slices and a professional-looking presentation.more
Seared Baby Eggplant with Mozzarella and Basil Oil
Basil oil is easy to make and will keep for 1 month in the fridge, so you might want to double the recipe to have some on hand for salads and roasted vegetables.more