Can you explain the difference between regular olive oil, virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oil?
Chef Seamus: It can be a little confusing, but the easiest way to understand it is to think that Extra Virgin is simply the juice squeezed from the olive fruit, unprocessed, unrefined. Regular “olive oil” is the same juice, that has been refined and processed for longer shelf life and higher heat tolerance. This generally means that some of the nutritional benefits are reduced. “Virgin” oil is simply a blend of the two.
What kinds of dishes would you use EVOO instead of regular olive oil?
Chef Seamus: Definitely in dressings, marinades and finishing salads and grilled dishes. I like to drizzle most of my finished dishes (even desserts!!!) with a little splash of excellent EVOO. For delicate cooking applications you can use EVOO as well, just be careful to keep the temperature low, or else you’ll lose the nutritional benefits of the oil.
How much olive oil should you typically use when cooking?
Chef Seamus: It really depends on what you’re cooking. For some dishes, like grilled fish, I’ll just brush a thin film of oil onto the fish. For other things, like a ragout of Summer squash, eggplant and tomatoes, I’ll use generous amounts as the oil itself becomes a key ingredient in the dish.
Aside from topping a salad, how else would you recommend using the new Wish-Bone EVOO products?
Chef Seamus: The dressings are great for adding into chilled soups like gazpacho or to use as a marinade.
We have tried EVOO from Italy, Turkey, Greece, etc. and they all taste different. Are there specific ones best for salads, best for cooking, etc?
Chef Seamus: The name of the game is taste, taste taste. Find one that you like and stick with it. For salads and finish, I gravitate towards fruity, delicate oils. For sauteing, something more grassy with peppery notes.
How can we be sure it’s 100% EVOO in bottles from Italy? Is it a safer bet to stick with California EVOO? Are there advantages to California EVOO?
Chef Seamus: The EU has strict labeling guidelines, but there are always people that try to cheat. A good rule of thumb is to go to a specialty store that has a staff that is knowledgeable and passionate about olive oil and who will let you taste the oils. Find a brand you like and trust.
What types of dishes should olive oil (any kind) NOT be used in?
Chef Seamus: I can’t think of any!!!! I even use it in ice cream!
Why do YOU prefer cooking with olive oil? Health benefits, flavor or another reason?
Chef Seamus: I love the flavor and I love that it’s good for me. It’s a perfect example of my food philosophy: nutritious food is delicious food!
How are these new EVOO products from Wish-Bone filling a consumer need?
Chef Seamus: A lot of families are always on the go, super busy, with limited time to make nutritious meals. Having a quality dressing that is pre-made with EVOO cuts out a step and ensures a healthy food option.
What is your favorite recipe that utilizes Wish-Bone EVOO? I’m sure my readers would love to know!
Chef Seamus: I love making gazpacho and using the garlic basil dressing as an ingredient for an extra zing!
Thank you Chef Seamus for answering our questions – it was fun to hear your responses!