There aren’t many simple cooking ingredients known that are as versatile as olive oil.
Olive oil can be added to any dish, whether as a cooking base, to thicken a sauce, or even as the star of the show. Olive oil has a distinct taste that pairs with almost everything and is frequently used in high volumes in Mediterranean dishes. If that wasn’t enough, this miraculous oil has a myriad of health benefits, the chief of which is it combats against heart disease.
In this recipe, we’ll show you how to highlight olive oil in your next dish, regardless if it’s for an impressive dinner party, or just kicking back with a good movie.
Benefits Of Adding Olive Oil To Your Diet
Olive oil is known for its flavor and accessibility, and also as a great substitute for all methods of cooking, but not many know the extent of its health benefits. The Mediterranean diet is clinically proven to extend life expectancy, largely due to the application of olive oil to most recipes. Break out the olive oil pourer, as olive oil has 3 main benefits:
1. High levels of HDL fat
Your body uses HDL fat as a buffer against LDL fat, or the “bad” kind of fat. HDL fat is responsible for improved cardiovascular health, as it helps reduce cholesterol, clears arterial blockages, and coats the blood vessels with a protective lining. The smooth flow of this healthy fat also helps to lower blood pressure and helps break the buildup of blood clots, which are the primary cause of strokes and heart disease.
2. Rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants help your body in many different ways. Firstly, antioxidants have an anti-inflammatory property which helps to reduce inflammation and swelling inside and outside the body. This helps treat acne, scars, bloating, and chronic inflammation. Antioxidants also help reduce oxidative damage from free radicals, which have shown to be a primary concern for cancer-causing molecules.
3. Lower your risk of neurodegenerative diseases
Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and epilepsy are some of the world’s most common neurodegenerative diseases, which have multiple causes. One feature of these illnesses is due to plaque buildup in blood vessels and neurons in the brain. Olive oil helps not only prevent the buildup of plaque in these nerves but also coats them in a protective layer, reducing the chance of further damage.
Spicy Grilled Serrano Olive Oil Salsa Verde Recipe
Enhance your next meal with this decadent sauce. Serrano peppers are usually hot, but when grilled they are reduced to mild and smoky heat, making it a perfect pairing for meat, fish, and even as a nacho/chip dip. The dip can easily be turned into a vegetable stew with grilled eggplant, grilled tomatoes, olives, and some feta cheese.
- 7 Serrano Chiles (adjust to your heat preference by adding bell peppers)
- Basil, to taste
- Cilantro, to taste
- Parsley, to taste
- 1-1.5 cups of extra-virgin olive oil
- 0.5 cup red wine or apple cider vinegar
- Salt, to taste
1. Set the grill to slightly past its medium setting. Place all Serrano chiles on the grill by threading them through a skewer, as it makes the flip easier, producing a bolder and more uniform taste. Let them char and soften for about 5-7 minutes. Once finished, remove and let cool completely – don’t forget to remove the stems, if any.
2. Chop your parsley, cilantro, and basil into fine bits. It is recommended to use fresh herbs for this recipe, as dried seasoning does not highlight the taste of the olive oil. You can add as much of these herbs as you want, but aim for about 2 cups of each as a standard.
3. Add the herbs, olive oil, and vinegar into a pot or food processor, and pulse/beat until it has a thick and uniform texture. Chop the Serrano peppers and add to the mixture, pulsing and mixing until all ingredients combine into a green and oily salsa consistency. You will notice the prominence of olive oil in this step.
4. Sauce should be made about 24 hours before applying it to other cooked foods for the best taste. Serve with pasta, salmon, steak, grilled vegetables, or even as a nacho dip. For added texture and flavor, lightly drizzle oil from your olive oil spout in a zig-zag motion, creating both a pleasure for the eyes and the taste buds.