Pairing: three types of olive oil

Let’s return to our subject of pairing, starting from light, fruity oils. They are ideal for delicate ingredients cooked in a simple manner. Examples of such dishes are fried vegetables, sauces such as mayonnaise, risotto or pasta with pesto. These oils also go well with white meats, either grilled or sautéed, lake fish and mackerel, sardines and anchovies. Medium fruity oils are the easiest to pair, and if necessary, can take the place of both delicate and intensely fruity ones, since they are extremely palatable. Typically, this class of olive oils consists of full-bodied, fragrant oils, suited for more intensive cooking at higher temperatures. They are an ideal complement for minestrone, mushroom soups, braised meat, shellfish and frittatas. Intensely fruity oils are, as the name suggests, more bitter and pungent, and pair well with rich, complex dishes releasing strong, persistent aromas, usually cooked at higher temperatures. Generally speaking, they are not suited for dressing salads, although they do pair delightfully well with wild rocket. They are instead ideal for dishes such as pasta e fagioli (pasta fazool), game and pork. It is always best to smell and taste an oil before deciding whether it should be used, for this is the only way to find the perfect match.


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