Healthy Hollywood got invited to an olive oil tasting dinner with Cat Cora. The celebrity chef has a line of signature extra virgin olive oils, within her Cat Cora's Kitchen by Gaea ranges.
I know (and most of us should) olive oil is one of nature's most powerful healers, and the antioxidant rich oil is packed with heart-healthy fats, anti-cancer preventatives and is an awesome anti-inflammatory.
What I didn't know is that selecting a high quality olive oil is very similar to wine tasting.
First, an extra virgin olive oil is always superior, but you also want to note its fruitiness, spiciness and a hint of bitterness.
As Cat demonstrated, you should taste the olive oil. At the dinner, the waiters actually poured Cat's signature oil into a wine glass.
Then, we were instructed to swirl the glass to warm up the oil and then smell. The aroma should be reminiscent of freshly mown grass, olive fruits and olive leaves. Then, you taste the oil, by taking a very small sip (never more than a teaspoon or it will burn) and try and detect the spicy and bitter flavors.
If you're not up for tasting, Cat suggests doing the hot potato test, which also creates one of the tastiest warm potato salads I've ever had. It's a favorite dish from the Mani, Kalamata region in Greece.
The hot potato test: Just boil or bake a potato, when done, pour extra virgin olive oil on top. Then smell. A poor quality olive oil will release a heavy, unpleasant smell when poured on a baked potato. A good quality oil will have a pleasant fruity odor.
Warm Potato Salad
Sea salt 2.2 lbs. baking potatoes 1 - 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil 1/4 cup chives 1/4 parsley White pepper
Wash and dry potatoes. Cover the bottom of a deep baking tray with a lot of sea salt. Bake at 365-degrees for about 75 minutes, or until cooked through. While the potatoes are quite warm but not hot, peel them and break them up with a fork, mashing a bit. Add the olive oil (be generous) while mixing the potatoes with a fork. Add sea salt and finely chopped herbs to taste. Grind fresh pepper over salad and serve.
For more recipes or information on cat's olive oil, check out www.catcora.com.
-- Terri MacLeod
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