Being from the States, I grew up with butter. Low calorie margarine made a big move in the mid-70s and I ate a lot of that also. My family did not use much olive oil. As an adult living in the States, we sometimes had a bottle of “olive oil” in the house, but again, it wasn’t something I was accustomed to using.
When I moved to Spain in 2009, I entered into the heart of Spanish olive country and quickly learned that extra virgin olive oil was a foundation of a Mediterranean diet. And I have learned to enjoy it and appreciate the health benefits. I am a huge fan of olive juice now – after all, olives are a fruit as strange as that may sound.
On my return trips to the States I started paying attention to how olive oil was used by my friends and family. I noticed that many times a bottle of “olive oil” is in the kitchen, and most times it seemed almost an adornment. If it was used, it would only be a dribble here or a dribble there, and then the “adornment” would be returned to the shelf. In general it is not consumed. Which is shame.
Since I have grown to believe strongly that extra virgin olive oil is good for you, I decided to select, bottle and import my own brand of Spanish extra virgin olive oil (Cold Pressed Elixir), and to mount a campaign to turn people on to it. It is a huge undertaking and my efforts are only a drop in the ocean of the olive oil market. Still, here at GringoCool we plug on.
One of our most recent endeavors is to find and publish Spanish recipes that translate well to the US culture. Things like pork cheeks, ox tail and tripe which is offered regularly on Andalusia menus, doesn’t translate well to US dinner parties.
To compose the list of recipes that we will start publishing, I talked to Manuela Augusto Cobos. Manuela is a Sevillana (local) who lived for years in the States. She is a wonderful gourmet cook and understands well what dishes may be appropriate for US citizens interested in Spanish cuisine. She is married to an American, – Bob, who is rather an eccentric old fart with a radio program, an English Academy and very touchy about good food. Manuela’s kitchen is filled with herbs, spices and fresh vegetables. She is very particular about food quality and a huge believer in organic and buying local. Manuela also has a small business where she offers natural soaps, cosmetics and oils, and also she offers several types of wellness services including consultations about nutrition. Check out her two websites at www.italicaintegral.com and maineecocosmetics.com
The following is a list of recipes Manuela composed for GringoCool.
1 Buñuelos De Bacalao (Salt Cod Fritters)
2 Grilled Calamari with Garlic and Parsley
3 Gambas al Ajillo (Shrimp with Garlic)
4 Queso Fundido
5 Tortas de Aceite (Spanish Olive Oil Crackers)
6 Smoked Paprika Prawn Skewers
7 Clams with Sherry & Serrano Ham
8 Crispy Squid with Capers
9 Flash-fried Prawns with chili, Lemon & Parsley
10 Tortillas de Camarones (Crispy Shrimp Fritters)
11 Seafood Paella
12 Cod fish with Tomato and Pesto Salad
13 Grilled Salmon
14 Grilled Scallops with Lemon-Herb Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
15 Roasted mackerel
16 Prawns with Romesco sauce
17 Lobster and Monkfish Ragout with Asparagus Sauce
18 Rosemary Hake with Almond Oil
19 Juicy Fish Stew
21 Bacalao al Pil-Pil
22 Pulpo a Feria
23 Rodaballo a la Gallega (Galician Turbot)
24 Salmorejo with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
25 Chili Cheese Burger made with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
26 Olive oil Chicken Confit
27 Thanksgiving Turkey with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
28 Barbecued Pork Rib
29 Saffron Chicken Thighs
30 Grilled beef tenderloin on a potato pancake
31 Lamb skewers
Here at GringoCool, our intention is to publish these recipes one at a time, and to make YouTube videos of several also. Our efforts won’t necessarily follow the order of the list above, instead it will follow our gut (haha) and also what is available in the local grocery store. We want to provide information to our US customers about how best to use our GringoCool Spanish extra virgin olive oils. All this information will be available at our “Recipe” tab located under “Learn More” at the GringoCool online store.
Spanish Cooking Tip
One of the first tips I would like to offer is that in most Spanish gourmet kitchens, you find several levels of quality in terms of the extra virgin olive oil. Many cooks will have a standard, cheaper extra virgin olive oil blend for frying food. A better quality, single variety extra virgin will be used for salads, pasta, toast and finishing foods. As long as the cheaper olive oil is really extra virgin, the health benefits will be there. It won’t taste as good as the high quality extra virgin, but it does the job. Also, remember that if you overheat the olive oil while frying, it will actually destroy it, and the health properties will be lost. So we recommend frying at the lowest heat possible to retain the benefits in the food.
Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil by GringoCool
Our GringoCool varieties of extra virgin olive oil are meant for finishing foods. Sure, you can fry food with our extra virgins, but we recommend purchasing a general blend such as “Costco” for that sort of thing. Our extra virgins are for enjoying the taste, so when the food is prepared that is when you bring out the GringoCool and dose your food with it (salads, fresh vegetables, pastas, toast or a drizzle on almost any prepared dish).
Our Hojiblanca is new this year. This is a wonderful, robust, fruity extra virgin. Our extra virgin is single source, first cold pressed, selected and bottled at a family run olive oil mill.
Last year we offered a 100% organic Picual variety of extra virgin olive oil, something we are repeating each year. It is important to know that less than 5% of the olive oil produced in Spain is organic, so it is no small feat to find a top quality extra virgin with the taste profile we demand. Our organic picual variety is robust, green and has a slight peppery finish. The real deal!
Please give our olive oils a try. They are a great gift for the holiday season. You can find them on amazon.com or at our online store. Thank you for reading – Steve