Top Chef Italian stallion Fabio Viviani was out and about at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. But he wasn't drinking too much wine or flirting with scantily clad females. Instead he was hard at working promoting a cause he stands fully behind: Bertolli olive oil. The chef has worked with the brand to create a product that is traditionally Italian, complete with three different cooking oils (light, classico, and extra virgin) and a line of vinegars. For the top takeaways from his oil demonstration, read on.
- According to Viviani every home cook should stock their pantry with three kinds of oil: one for frying and cooking at high heat (the light), another for cooking things at lower, medium temperatures (the classic), and the final one for finishing (the extra virgin). This last one, the extra virgin, should not be used for cooking.
- Think of the extra virgin like a flavoring agent. It adds flavor to a dish, therefore it should not be used when making items that have overpowering ingredients. For example, in a Caesar salad dressing, the anchovies will mask the flavor of the extra-virgin oil, so Fabio recommends a different oil.
- Never fry with extra-virgin olive oil. It burns at low temperatures.
- The oil you use in a dish is just as important an ingredient as the protein, herbs, and aromatics.
- Infuse the oil, this will add more flavor to whatever it is you are cooking. Fabio likes to add whole garlic cloves, thyme, and rosemary springs, etc.
What kind of oils do you cook with?