Ahh..gone are the days when we viewed fats as evil. While saturated and trans fat (partially hydrogenated blah blah) do have the ability to harm our bodies, oils are a much needed part of our diets. Probably one of the healthiest type of oil is olive oil.
Some tips on purchasing higher quality (and healthier) olive oils:
- Look for olive oils stored in dark bottles. Light and heat exposure can make the oil go rancid quickly, depleting it of its natural nutrients.
- Look for the words “first press” on the label – anything labeled “light” does not mean it has less calories or fat; it simply means the oil has been filtered numerous times, giving it a lighter flavor and thus lighter nutrients as well.
- If you’re looking to be real fancy schmancy, look for a seal that says “Indicazione Geografica Protetta”. This indicates that the olive oil was produced exclusively in Italy, and was shipped to the US.
Fresh olive oil should have a slightly nutty taste & aroma. I’m not someone who can drizzle it on salads and tolerate the taste all by itself. So armed with my new spiffy KitchenAid food processor, I decided to make some delicious, oh so fatty basil pesto.
Simple Basil Pesto
2 cups (around 2 bunches) of fresh basil
1 clove garlic
1/4th cup walnuts (or pine nuts)
1/4th cup olive oil
1/4th cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1-2 Tablespoons water
Salt to taste
1. In food processor, add everything together except for the salt
2. Pulse until smooth, scraping down sides occasionally.
3. Add salt to taste (I found I didn’t need the salt because of the cheese)
4. Enjoy in sandwiches, pastas, etc.
*Makes about 3/4th cup
Psst..it tastes awfully good in paninis.