Olive Oil – Indispensable part of Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet has been declared as a reference dietary model for some time by the World Health Organization. It is considered one of the best and healthiest diets, and of course it is most popular in Mediterranean countries, epicenters of olive oil production.
As the Mediterranean diet resides in countries where olives grow and olive oil is produced, the starring role in the Mediterranean diet belongs to the olive oil category. In addition, it has been observed that people living by the Mediterranean diet, typical of Mediterranean areas, truly discovered a natural formula of wellbeing. Moreover, they are less likely to suffer from chronic diseases, especially cardiovascular ones. The foundation of the Mediterranean diet reflected in their daily use of olive oil and cooking. Fish and seafood are mostly consumed in moderation with a good splash of olive oil, meat and other fresh produce.
Mediterranean cooking = Olive oil
While the main parts of the Mediterranean diet are olive oil, tomatoes, red wine, and historically popular wild herbs, the Croatian coast prides itself on “misanca”. Perfect example of the Mediterranean love affair with olive oil is illustrated in the saying originating from the Croatian coast. ‘’The fish swims three times: first, in the sea, then in the olive oil and lastly in wine.’’ Centuries old lifestyle still contemporary and in vogue today.
The benefits of olive oil are unquestionable, especially extra virgin olive oil. It contains vitamins A and E, squalene, unsaturated fatty acids, palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic and linoleic acid and especially important bisphenols (they give a bitter taste and are powerful antioxidants). Of the minerals it contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and zinc. The combination of ingredients has a rewarding effect on the health and condition of the cardiovascular system.
Olive oils from Croatia, given the high content of phenols, are the healthiest among different categories of olive oils in Europe. If still in doubt, check why the Romans valued Istrian olive oil as one of the best in the Roman Empire and get seduced by all the tastes and aromas.
Cooking and preparing food with olive oil
In addition to the high stability of extra virgin olive oils during cooking, it is important to emphasize that it is an ingredient that will elevate any dish due to its fragrant and flavorful characteristics. Another advantage of using extra virgin olive oil in cooking, especially in fried dishes, is that it creates a crispy crust on the surface of the food that interferes with the penetration of oil into the food which makes the dish lighter and healthier because of lower fat content. The taste of the dish is just a bonus!
However, it should be emphasized that at cooking temperatures, extra virgin olive oils still lose a certain amount of biologically valuable compounds such as phenols, vitamin E and volatile substances, which affects the taste and smell of the oil. Therefore, in order to preserve the special, delicate smell and taste of extra virgin olive oils and the initial level of antioxidants, it is best to use it cold in food preparation or add it to dishes as a seasoning. Perfect icing on the cake!
During summer months or wanderlust days seeking for an invigorating session of ‘armchair travel’, extra virgin olive oil is the only passport you need! We bring you the best short and simple recipes on how to incorporate and use extra virgin olive oil into a simple meal and your travel fantasies. Extra virgin olive oil category is a perfect destination for an easy, but delicious meal.
FOR 4 PERSONS:
- 1.5 kg of octopus
- 1 small onion (finely chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
Mix all the ingredients and add the oil as desired, but certainly 5-6 tablespoons. Extra virgin olive oil gives flavour and creates an ideal fusion of all the ingredients. Combine this light meal with a glass of red wine, and you will be transported to the Mediterranean without hassle and stop overs.
For this simple spread you need:
- 1 avocado (better are those that are more ripe, softer and easier to prepare)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- ½ lemon
- Pepper, salt
Mix avocado with olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of salt and pepper, and you have an easy and refreshing summer spread. Of course, paired with a piece of homemade bread that you can lightly toast to make it crispy.
BON APPETIT !