On today’s show, I’m joined by olive oil expert extraordinaire, David Garcia-Aguirre from Corto Olive Company with a primer on extra virgin olive oil, which he says is “the ingredient that farm-to-table forgot.” Discover how olives are grown, harvested and pressed, how to choose the freshest EVOO at the market, how to cook with it, and get recipes galore … and hear why David wants us all to think of EVOO as the “fresh-pressed juice of olives.”
David Garci-Aguirre is the Vice President of Operations and Master Miller at Corto Olive Company in Lodi, CA. With a focus on serving independent restaurants throughout the US, Corto uniquely harvests and produces fresh, premium-quality, award-winning extra virgin olive oils that enhance the flavor of foods. David is an olive oil guru who is dedicated to the advancement of high-quality olive oil production, research, and education.
He’s educating us today about what to look for at the market to know you’re buying the freshest oil, how to store it at home to keep it fresh, and why heat, light, and air are the three biggest enemies of your bottle of olive oil. He teaches us about the latest innovations in packaging, how to use EVOO to elevate everyday cooking, and why it’s a nutritious addition to your meals. David busts myths about olive oil and take us behind the scenes at Corto to highlight their gorgeous olive groves and their harvesting, milling, storing, and packing processes.
Giveaway: We are giving away a 3-liter Truly 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil, California Grown, Flavor-Lock Box from Corto. I don’t know about you, but I go through a lot of EVOO in my house, so I can attest that this oil rocks. I use it every day … all day. To enter for a chance to win, post a comment telling me how you use olive oil in your everyday cooking or why you want to win this bag-in-box EVOO from Corto. (PS: US only giveaway.) (PSS: If you have an awesome recipe for olive oil lemon cake, please share it with me. I’ve been on the lookout for a new one!) Giveaway ends on Sept. 15th.
This is the book David talked about on the show.
- David’s life and work in Lodi, CA
- Why olive oil is the ingredient that “farm to table” forgot
- How olive oil is different from all other edible oils. Essentially, it’s fresh-pressed juice that retains its flavors and nutrients
- Why all olive oils are NOT created equal; most olive oil in the supermarket is already rancid before you even get it home
- How Corto focuses on a new technology called vineyard-style” planting that allows mechanized fall harvests of the fruit when it’s perfectly ripe
- How most olive oil is produced with olives harvested by the old-style “tree-shaking” method that yields poor quality fruit not at the optimal ripeness
- How to tell if your olive oil is fresh by its smell and flavor
- David’s overview of the milling process: The fruit is crushed into a paste that’s mixed together and then separated with a centrifuge to obtain the oil at cold temperatures; the oil goes straight into stainless steel casks where oxygen can’t get to it.
- How the “Extra Virgin” olive oil designation is reserved for a natural, unrefined product (CA has the tightest legal standard for EVOO in the world!)
- Tips for buying olive oil: buy local, if possible, from a reputable company; make sure the oil is in dark glass, stainless steel, or a bag-in-box package, and always check the harvest date
- How flavor-lock (bag in box) packaging protects the oil from light and air
- David busts the most popular myth regarding olive oil, which is that you should never sauté or use high heat cooking
- Because of the many healthy compounds unique to olives, olive oil is the #1 food item studied for nutritional health in medical journals
- Easy salad dressing ideas using olive oil:
- David keeps it simple with salt, citrus, and an oil variety that pairs with his food
- Liz relies on the standard go-to of olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, shallot or garlic, and salt and pepper
- Unusual ways to use olive oil: drizzled on ice cream, as a dip for dark chocolate truffles, poured on popcorn, and homemade mayonnaise
- How Liz used it to make Ina Garten’s Gazpacho (with a few tweaks, of course)!
- How to introduce kids to the wonders of olive oil with creative thinking
- David’s final words: “Rethink how you think about olive oil. Think of it as a fresh-pressed juice.”