How to use finishing oil that's infused with kalamata olives.
by Kate Heyhoe
I have a new product to share, but first I have to tell you why I love the kalamata olive.
First, the kalamata olive's got a big meaty bite, plump and chewy, naturally saturated with its own oil, and encased in a smooth, glossy skin. Kalamata colors range from deep mahogany to purple ash to earthy shades of rust and moss—they remind me of the wabi-sabi hues of an old wooden chest I own. They're on the large end of the olive scale, more than twice the size of the petite picholine, with an elegant almond shape.
Then there's the taste. Curing removes the bitterness of raw olives. The cured kalamata is prized for being just slightly bitter, assertive, and rich—all in just the right amounts. When it comes to personality, the kalamata is no shy wallflower.
Which brings me to the heart of this post: I yearned for a kalamata oil that was as hearty, robust, and sexy as the olive itself. There are many great tasting kalamata olive oils, but one particular specialty product is unlike any other.
"Amoretti Premium Organic Extra Virgin Finishing Olive Oil Infused with the Natural Flavor & Aroma of Kalamata Olives" is a mouthful, in more ways than one.
It's an olive oil that's infused with kalamata olives, making it far more intense, more deeply flavored, and more kalamata-y than any traditional olive oil. You can smell the kalamata olives as soon as the bottle's uncorked.
Interestingly, the infusion is naturally made from kalamata olives, but the carrier or base oil is an extra virgin Arbequina, which is known for its delicate, mild profile. The resulting product is the best of both—and it's meant to be used as a finishing oil.
What makes a finishing oil different from a regular oil? A finishing oil is typically concentrated, bursting with flavor so that just a dab delivers a full taste bud experience. Drop and drizzle with restraint, lest it overpower a dish.
For salads, I use an everyday extra-virgin olive oil, but then I drizzle in a bit of kalamata-infused oil, and it's almost like tossing in whole kalamata olives—but without the saltiness of olives. I like my fresh foods simply prepared, often with few seasonings, and a few drops of the k-oil perfectly punctuates the natural goodness of fish, vegetables, or even eggs.
I use the kalamata-infused oil sparingly, and the bottle lasts a long time. Which is a good thing, because I never want to run out of this unique oil. It's a bit pricy, but not moreso than other premium olive oils, and because it's a finishing oil, you use less.
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Copyright © 2013, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page modified June 2013
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