Whether used singly or mixed, quality oils and vinegars make fantastic dressings for salads, vegetables, pasta, meat, and fish.
An oil-vinegar mixture is known as a vinaigrette. The classic ratio is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.
A marinade is a flavourful liquid in which food is soaked prior to cooking. Soaking time varies by food thickness and consistency; vegetables and seafood will absorb plenty of flavour in about half an hour, while meat may take several hours (or even overnight). As in other applications, a lone oil or vinegar may be used, or an oil-vinegar mixture (vinaigrette), along with any desired herbs or spices.
Boiling down balsamic vinegar, typically to half its original volume or less, yields a syrupy product known as balsamic “glaze”, “sauce”, or “reduction”. Sugar is often added during boiling, yielding a lively sweet-sour flavour. Glaze can be applied before or after cooking.
To “finish” a dish is to add something special at the very end of preparation. Oils and vinegars are perfect finishing ingredients for many entrees, soups, and sauces.
Oils, vinegars, and vinaigrettes make excellent dips for snacks or appetizers. Plain white bread is the classic dipper.
High-quality olive oil will suffuse any fried food with a pleasant flavour undertone.
Myths persist about olive oil being unsuitable for frying. One false claim asserts a low smoke point; in fact, the smoke point of extra virgin olive oil is 410°F, well above normal frying temperatures. Also untrue is the notion that heat causes olive oil to break down in an unhealthy way.
Olive oil can generally replace butter in baking recipes, making them healthier with no compromise in flavour. The volume of oil should equal three quarters the volume of butter in the original recipe.