Agourolado is unique. It’s not your traditional olive oil that you use to cook with. In fact— you should never cook with it since heating it disintegrates the phenolic compounds that make this oil so healthy and tasty.
Polyphenols occur naturally in a lot of plants and are abundant in olives. In fact, the more unripe the olive, the higher the polyphenol count.
Research has shown that polyphenols may help prevent blood clots, reduce blood sugar levels and lower heart disease risk. They also promote brain function, improve digestion and offer protection against cancer. Research is still taking place in medical centers throughout the world and new benefits are popping up regularly.
In addition to having these invisible elements that make Agourolado so healthy, the polyphenols also add a peppery kick that you’ll feel in the back of your throat as you swallow it.
As a result of its unique flavor, I’ve come up with some ideas to use it to take advantage of the health benefits, and also the interestingly unique peppery taste.
1 – Drink a swig every morning as you start your day. That’s right. Just hold the bottle upright and fill your mouth. Ideally, you should consume 2 tablespoons every day to gain the health benefits associated with this olive oil.
2 – Add two tablespoons into a smoothie or shake. The amount isn’t really that significant to change the flavor of your drink. You may experience a different consistency because you’re adding oil, but flavor-wise, you’ll still taste the strawberries, blueberries and other fruits you’re drinking but still getting the great benefits.
3 – Drizzle on any grilled or baked meat— but remember, you’re adding a very peppery flavor to your dish, so use real pepper sparingly as your finished product might be too potent if you’re not into spicy foods.
4 – Make a pesto! All pesto recipes call for olive oil as the main fat to bind together the crushed nuts, herbs, spices and other ingredients. Pestos are great because they are raw ingredients and added to cooked pastas. They aren’t heated. You should always toss in your pesto to your hot pasta in a mixing bowl (and not in the heated pan where you’ve boiled your pasta) to avoid over-heating.
5 – Make a tapenade! There are so many different recipes for tapenades, or spreads, that you can make with Agourolado. Tapenades are best served over toasted bread (bruschetta). I’ve also seen restaurants incorporate tapenade dollops on top of burgers and other grilled meats. You can make tapenades with black and green olives, various creamy cheeses and all kinds of herbs and spices. Olive oil is almost always used.
6 – Make a dip. Throw away that bottled ranch dressing for your raw veggies and pita chips and make something healthier— and tastier. Practically any dip recipe out there calls for some kind of oil and if it doesn’t, a few tablespoons never hurt anything!
7 – Spice up an existing dip! Give your tzatziki or hummus recipes a kick by replacing traditional extra virgin olive oil with the same amount of Agourolado. Just remember, if the recipe calls for ground pepper, use less. Use your taste buds to season with additional pepper, as you think is needed since Agourolado already has that peppery flavor.
8 – Toss in plain cooked pasta with some mizithra cheese. This was my mom’s favorite dish. Simple, tasty and filling. No sauce— just a bit of mizithra cheese tossed into the pasta and a few dashes of Agourolado on top.
9 – ever heard of a “dakos?” It’s a Cretan salad that uses paximadia, or rusks, as the base. If you have access to these, the process is quite simple. Lightly soak your rusks in some water. Alternatively you can run them very quickly under some running water but be quick, as you don’t want them mushy. Place your rusks on the bottom of the plate, add finely chopped tomatoes on top. Sprinkle some feta cheese, and then drizzle your Agourolado on top. There are many add-ons you can incorporate chopped onions, even peppers or cucumbers if you like.
10 – And last, but certainly the very best use of this fabulous olive oil. Use it on any tossed, cold salad. Whether it’s a traditional Greek salad (no lettuce please!) or a leafy green salad with plenty of veggies mixed in, the very best use of Agourolado is on a hearty, healthy salad where the taste will mix well with the freshness of your vegetables.
PS— Here’s a recipe for a “Greek-Style” pesto tat my mom used to make (relax, Italian friends, we all know pesto is yours)!
*Great w/ any kind of pasta
Feta cheese and kalamata olives give this pesto its Greek flavor. Agourolado high phenolic extra virgin olive oil give it a unique Greek “opa” kick. It’s tasty over pasta and takes boiled or grilled vegetables to a different level.
If you have extra basil, make up several batches of this recipe to store in the freezer. Just spoon it into ice trays and voila, you have more Greek pesto for another meal.
- ⅔ cup Agourolado high phenolic extra virgin olive oil (click here to buy)
- 4 cups fresh basil leaves
- 5 ounces sliced, pitted ripe olives, drained
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
- ½ teaspoon salt
- *Optional: a handful of toasted pine nuts can also be added
In a food processor or blender combine 1/2 cup olive oil, basil, olives, feta cheese, garlic and salt. Cover and process until until nearly smooth, stopping and scraping sides as necessary and adding additional oil as needed to reach desired consistency. If you’re not serving the pesto immediately, divide it into 1/4-cup portions. Place each portion in a small airtight container and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Makes 1-3/4 cups.
Chef Akis is my cousin who works at Elea, a Greek restaurant in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I asked him to share a recipe that I could include and true to his Cretan roots, he’s come up with this Cretan pesto, as well as a “ladolemono” which is perfect for grilled fish.
Chef Akis’ Cretan Pesto
- 1 cup Agourolado (click here to buy)
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 1 cup parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
- 1/2 cup shaved kefalograviera
Mix all ingredients in a food processor and add to cooked pasta while still steaming hot and toss.
Chef Akis’ “Ladolemono” sauce for grilled fish
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2/3 cup Agourolado
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp salt
- *1/3 cup fish broth (see instructions below to boil fish head)
- Lime zest
- 1 tsp honey
While preparing to grill your fish, cut off the heads and in a sauce pan, add enough water to cover them. You only need a small amount of fish broth so be sure not to add too much water.
Boil the heads for about 15 minutes. Set broth aside.
Add lemon juice, salt and mustard in a food processor. Mix well and slowly add fish broth.
Slowly add Agourolado and mix. Add lime zest at the end and pour over grilled fish.
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