Olive oil is the unique and necessary item of the Mediterranean cuisine, and also of course for Turkish cuisine, especially in the western coasts of Turkey.
The olive oil world is of a big veriety of kinds; but there are three main types of it. Virgin olive oil, refined olive oil, and pure olive oil. (Pure olive oil is also called as 'riviera'.
These three types also have some sub-types, like extra virgin, or ordinary virgin etc.
Virgin olive oil contains oleic acid of maximum 2%. (Extra virgin with max.1% of acid.) Refined olive oil is mostly for people who are not used to the strong aroma of olive oil and it's acid level is less than 0.3%. And pure olive oil is a blend of virgin and refined oils with acidity of 1.5%
If you're as addicted as me to the scent of virgin olive oil, you probably would want to use the extra virgin olive oil all the time. But what type is best for which meal?
Heavenly parfumed virgin olive oil is best for salads, and sauces to use raw. Riviera/Pure olive oil is mostly used with cooked dishes or cold mezes. And refined olive oil is best to use with frying.
Many people believe that you mustn't use olive oil for frying or you can't get perfect cakes with olive oil, however these are just wrong myths. As I mentioned the point is to choose the right type. Of course if you use a good quality extra virgin olive oil to fry your chips, this is just a waste! But you can have healthier fries with refined olive oil.
I use pure olive oil in any kind of dish I cook. Soups, pastas, most of the cakes and cookies and even pilafs. Some people don't like the strong taste, and aroma of virgin olive oil with cold mezes, but I love it. So with mezes, it's just up to your taste. And it's inevitable to use extra virgin olive oil with green salads!
Today I would like to share a recipe of summer traditions of Turkish cuisine:
'Zeytinyagi' means olive oil, and 'fasulye' means green beans. So we can name it 'Green beans with olive oil'. Dishes which are cooked with olive oil are basic items of meals for Istanbulin and west of Turkey families in summer.
This recipe is adopted from the book of a popular Turkish chef, Umit Usta.