How to find the perfect olive oil
La Española shares its top tips for hunting out the highest quality olive oils, and the best ways to use them.
Founded almost two centuries ago, La Española is the oldest olive oil company in Spain and has grown to become one of the world’s leading brands. Of course, that means its experts know a thing or two about how to distinguish high-quality olive oil, and the best uses for each type. So, here’s a quick rundown of the basics.
How to choose your olive oil
● Always check the origin on the label. As Spain accounts for more than half of the world’s olive oil production, a Spanish origin is often a promising sign of quality.
● Choose natural olive oils without any additives in their ingredients lists. For instance, La Española uses 100% Spanish olives, grown locally on farms in the Andalucía region, for the most authentic taste.
● Consider what you’re cooking, as the best type of olive oil will vary based on the techniques and temperatures you’re using.
What are the uses for each type?
Regular olive oil is best for everyday cooking at low and medium heats, making it ideal for frying, grilling or roasting. Meanwhile, light in colour olive oil is better for wok cooking or deep frying, as it can be heated to higher temperatures. It also works well in baked goods, as it has a mild, delicate flavour that’s never overpowering.
For cold dishes, you’ll want to use extra virgin olive oil, as it’s great for whisking into dressings and marinades, or even using as a dip for crusty bread. It’s also perfect for adding a final drizzle of flavour to dishes before serving – but a flavoured olive oil is even better for this if you want a more distinctive taste. Try La Española’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil with White Truffle to bring a hint of earthiness to pizza or pasta.
A healthier choice
Olive oil is naturally lower in saturated fat, making it a better choice for anyone looking to manage saturated fat levels in their diet. But extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest type, as it’s packed with vitamin E and antioxidants. If you’re looking to incorporate more of this oil into your cooking, here are three quick and easy recipes, made with La Española’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to get you started…
Marinated cherry tomatoes & cheese
SERVES 2 | PREP 8 mins plus marinating | NO COOK | EASY
150g cured sheep's cheese or feta
80g cherry tomatoes
3-4 fresh rosemary sprigs, approx. 5cm each
handful of fresh basil
La Española Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Cut the cheese into small cubes and score the cherry tomatoes with a small ‘x’.
2 Add the cubed cheese, tomatoes, rosemary and basil to an airtight jar. Then pour the olive oil over the top until all the ingredients are covered.
3 Seal the jar and leave to marinate for 3-4 days, then serve on toast or use as a garnish for meat, fish or pasta.
Avocado, cheese & chilli toast
SERVES 2 | PREP 5 mins | COOK 5 mins | EASY
2 ripe avocados
La Española Extra Virgin Olive Oil
pinch of chilli flakes or chilli powder, plus extra for serving
½ lemon, juiced
2 slices of bread, lightly toasted
parmesan or cured cheese, thinly sliced
1 Cut the avocados in half and discard the stones and skins. In a bowl, mash three of the avocado halves with a fork, then thinly slice the remaining half and set aside.
2 Add a splash of olive oil, the chilli flakes or powder and the lemon juice to the mashed avocado, then season with salt and mix until combined.
3 Spread the mixture onto the toast slices and top with the cheese and the sliced avocado. When ready to serve, add an extra sprinkle of chilli flakes and a drizzle of olive oil to finish.
Salted chocolate mousse
SERVES 6 | PREP 30 mins | COOK 10 mins plus chilling | EASY
150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), roughly chopped
100ml La Española Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
whipped cream (optional)
1 Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie, or a bowl in the microwave, and leave to cool for 10 mins. Then add the oil and stir until combined.
2 In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the sugar until doubled in volume, then slowly pour into the melted chocolate and mix thoroughly.
3 In a third bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of flaky sea salt until stiff, then carefully fold into the chocolate mixture.
4 Pour the mousse into six ramekins and chill for at least 3 hrs. Serve with a spoonful of whipped cream and an extra sprinkling of salt, if you like.