My obsession with food and travel led me to this piece: olive oil and food pairings from around the world. These dishes remind me of places I have been and are simple enough to make at home – and they inspire my future travels.
I’m not an olive oil expert, but my suggestion is to rely on your senses. Try a spoonful. (Don’t be scared, it’s healthy-ish.) Taste and savor the aroma. If you like it, then it’s a good one – bonus points if it has a cool label. I’m a sucker for cool labels.
I use light olive oil for everyday cooking, such as frying eggs and sautéing vegetables, and save the more complex ones for salad dressing or putting the final touch on a dish. I also like using olive oil from the country whose cuisine I’m cooking: It feels authentic and adventurous. Cooking is all about having fun in the kitchen, reliving previous adventures, and dreaming of the next getaway.
These days, olive oil-aholics like me can join numerous olive oil clubs, such as The Best Olive Oils marketplace, which sends members three award-winning oils over the course of a three-month subscription ($99). Here are some combinations and recipes I love:
Fried Eggs + Spanish Oil
I’m partial to Spanish olive oil. I fell in love with Pons after cookbook author Jeff Kohler recommended it in a Virtuoso Life article (browse the current issue) – it’s my oil for everyday cooking. A fried egg with crispy edges can only be achieved by using oil, not butter:
Pour 3 to 4 tablespoons into a hot pan, crack in an egg, then gently shake and baste its white part.
Lemon Aioli + California Oil
Greek Salad + Greek Oil
Tortilla Española + Spanish Oil
Beet Hummus + Tunisian Oil
Burrata + Italian Oil
This is my go-to “impress your guests” Italian appetizer: Burrata con Tartufo, homemade pesto, and charred tomatoes on the vine, drizzled with Olio di Dievole 100% Italiano – Nocellara, an exquisite oil from Italy.
Pan-Seared Fish + Mexican Oil
All photos by Melanie Fowler, art director at Virtuoso.