Special Feature


Olive Oil Basics

Fettucine with Olive Pesto
Olive and Feta Cornbread

Olive Oil Basics

The major product of the olive tree in most of the producing countries is olive oil. Like wines, olive oil varies in flavor, color and aroma depending on olive variety, soils, climates and processing methods. Taste a cross section of oils to find the ones you like. A rule of thumb of olive oil use is: cook with "Olive Oil"; season or drizzle with "Extra Virgin" after food is cooked or on salads.

"Extra Virgin"—obtained from the fruit of the olive tree by mechanical and physical methods under controlled temperature conditions. It offers the widest range of perfect flavors and aromas with no more than 1% (1 gram per 100 grams) free oleic acid.

"Virgin"—obtained the same way as Extra Virgin. Good flavor with an acidity level, in terms of free oleic acid, above 1 gram and less than 3 grams per 100 grams of oil. (Not widely available in U.S.)

"Olive Oil"—the common name for a blend of refined olive oil and virgin olive oil, formerly known as pure olive oil. Its acidity, in terms of free oleic acid, is below 1.5 gams per 100 grams of oil.

"Olive Pomace Oil"—Pomace is the portion of the olive that remains after mechanical and physical operations remove the oil and water. Additional oil can be extracted from the olive pomace with the use of heat and solvents. This oil is then blended with virgin olive oil. Recent studies indicate that monounsaturated fats such as olive oil have been found not to raise the damaging HDL-cholesterol, and to leave the beneficial HDL-cholesterol untouched or even at a higher level thus having a preventative effect on cardiovascular diseases.

Olive oil has 115 calories per tablespoon—no more than any other common cooking or salad oil. But it will probably save you calories, because its greater flavor and aroma means you can use less of it in cooking than other oils. Olive oil is cholesterol free.


Fettucine with Olive Pesto

Fettucine with Olive Pesto
  • 10 ounces dried fettuccine
  • 1-1/2 cups whole pitted ripe olives
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Basil sprigs

Cook fettuccine according to package directions. While pasta cooks, combine olives, capers, lemon juice, oil, mustard and garlic in a food processor or blender. Whirl until coarsely puréed. Stir in chopped basil and cheese; set aside. Drain pasta well and transfer to a large warm serving bowl. Spoon pesto over pasta and mix gently. Garnish with basil springs.

Makes 4 servings.
Cooking time: about 15 minutes
Total preparation time: about 15 minutes


Olive and Feta Cornbread

Olive and Feta Cornbread
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3/4 cup ripe olives, wedged

In a large bowl, mix cornmeal, flour and baking powder. In a small bowl, beat eggs, buttermilk, honey and butter until blended. Gently stir in cheese and olives. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir just until dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Spread batter in a greased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake in a 375 degree F oven until bread pulls away from sides a pan and a wooden pick inserted in center come out clean, about 35 minutes. Serve warm or cool. Cut into 8 pieces.

Makes 8 servings
Cooking time: about 35 minutes
Preparation time: about 15 minutes


Provided by California Olive Industry


About Olives and Olive Oils

Articles About Olives (with Recipes)

Olive Oil Recipes

This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

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This page modified February 2007

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