Monthly Archives: March 2015

Olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, canola oil or butter?

Extra virgin olive oils
Extra virgin olive oils in an Andalucian grocery store.

One of our readers send us email asking why sometimes we use regular olive oil and sometimes extra virgin. Well, rather than answering to just her, we decided to make a blog post about the matter, since it might interest other readers, too.

Basically there are two factors you have to keep in mind:

  1. smoke point
  2. taste

Smoke point means that if you heat the oil, its taste changes to worse when you reach the smoke point. Therefore you have to keep in mind what oil to use for what purpose. For example canola oil is often used for frying, because its smoke point is higher than for olive oil. Here is the list of smoke point temperatures for different types of oils and butter.

The other thing to consider is the taste. Butter tastes different than canola oil. Extra virgin olive oil taste different than regular one. Butter mixes nicely when frying fish or steak, canola oil is great for deep frying when you need higher temperatures and olive oil adds taste when frying stuff on low heat. Extra virgin is generally used for marinades and salad dressings, because its smoke point is low and it is very tasty.

To make things easy, here’s our list how to choose the right oil for right purpose:

Butter Canola oil Olive oil Extra virgin olive oil
Frying mushrooms, fish or steak Yes
Deep frying Yes On low, yes
Generic frying Yes Yes Yes
Marinade Yes Yes
Salad dressing Yes

¡Buen provecho!

Fried Octopus and Mediterranean Potato Salad

Fried Octopus with Mediterranean Potato Salad
Fried Octopus with Mediterranean Potato Salad

As continuation for our previous post about making octopus, this time we have fried version served with wonderful fresh Mediterranean potato salad. First you need to do is to freeze and then boil the octopus tender just like in the previous post. Grilling the tentacles brings crispiness and adds nice smoky flavor.

Ingredients for Mediterranean Potato Salad for 4 Servings

  • 0,5 kg (1 lbs.) small cooked potatoes  – patatas
  • 1 red onion – cebolla rojo
  • 4 radishes – rábanos
  • 2 dl (1 cup) of olives – aceitunas
  • 1 dl (1/2 cup) of capers – alcaparras
  • 2 dl (1 cup) of sun-dried tomatoes – tomates secos
  • 3 green onions – cebollitas
  • 1 dl (1/2 cup) of extra virgin olive oil – aceite de oliva virgen extra
  • a punch of parsley – perejil
  • sea salt – sal marina
  • ground black pepper – pimienta negra

Chop vegetables into small rings as in the pictures. If the potatoes are too big for a bite, half them, too. Add rest of the ingredients along with chopped parsley and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Let the salad rest in the fridge while you cook the octopus.

Ingredients for Octopus and Garlic Oil

  • 1/2 medium size octopus – medio de pulpo
  • 1 lemon – limón
  • a pinch of sea salt – sal marina
  • a punch of parsley – perejil
  • 5 cloves of garlic – dientes de ajo
  • 1 dl (1/2 cup) of extra virgin olive oil – aceite de oliva virgen extra
  • a splash of sunflower oil – aceite de girasol

Cook the octopus according the these instructions.

Chop parsley and garlic very fine and mix well with the olive oil. Season with salt to taste. Put the oil on the side to rest while you grill the octopus.

Put a frying pan or a hot plate very hot and splash a bit of sunflower oil on it. Fry the octopus until the surface begins to brown and the suction cups become crispy. Season with the garlic oil and serve with the Mediterranean potato salad.

¡Buen provecho!