Agourolado is unique. It’s not your traditional olive oil you’re cooking with. In fact, you should never cook with it, as heating it breaks down the phenolic compounds that make this oil so healthy and tasty.
Polyphenols occur naturally in many plants and are abundant in olives. The more immature the olive, the higher the polyphenol content.
Research has shown that polyphenols can help prevent blood clots, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease. They also promote brain function, improve digestion and offer protection against cancer. Research is still ongoing in medical centers around the world, and new benefits are being added regularly.
In addition to these invisible elements that make Agourolado so healthy, the polyphenols also add a peppery kick that you’ll feel down your throat as you swallow.
Because of its unique flavor, I’ve come up with a few ideas for reaping the health benefits and also the interestingly unique peppery flavor.
1 – Take a sip each morning as you start your day. That’s right. Just hold the bottle upright and fill your mouth. Ideally, you should consume 2 tablespoons daily to reap the health benefits of this olive oil.
2 – Add two tablespoons to a smoothie or shake. The amount doesn’t really matter that much to change the flavor of your drink. You may notice a different texture because you’re adding oil, but flavor-wise you’ll still taste the strawberries, blueberries, and other fruits you’re drinking, but you’ll still get the great benefits.
3 – Drizzle on grilled or baked meat– but remember you will add a very peppery flavor to your dish so use real pepper sparingly as your finished product may be too strong if you don’t like spicy food.
4 – Make a pesto! All pesto recipes call for olive oil as the main fat to bind the chopped nuts, herbs, spices, and other ingredients. Pestos are great because they are raw ingredients and are added to cooked pasta. They are not heated. You should always add your pesto to your hot pasta in a mixing bowl (rather than the heated skillet you cooked your pasta in) to avoid overheating.
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5 – Make a tapenade! There are so many different recipes for tapenades or spreads that you can make with agourolado. Tapenades are best served on toasted bread (bruschetta). I’ve also seen restaurants put dabs of tapenade on burgers and other grilled meats. You can make tapenades with black and green olives, various creamy cheeses, and all kinds of herbs and spices. Olive oil is almost always used.
6 – Take a bath. Ditch the bottled ranch dressing for your raw veggies and pita chips and make something healthier — and tastier. Virtually every dip recipe out there calls for some type of oil, and if it doesn’t, a few tablespoons never hurt!
7 – Spice up an existing dip! Add a kick to your tzatziki or hummus recipes by substituting an equal amount of agourolado for traditional extra virgin olive oil. Remember, if the recipe calls for ground pepper, use less. Use your taste buds to season with additional pepper as you see fit since agourolado already has that peppery flavor.
8 – Just throw in cooked noodles with some mizithra cheese. This was my mother’s favorite dish. Simple, delicious and filling. No sauce – just a bit of mizithra cheese tossed in the pasta and a few sprinkles of agourolado on top.
9 – ever heard of a “dakos”? It is a Cretan salad that uses paximadia or rusks as a base. If you have access to these, the process is quite simple. Slightly soak your rusks in some water. Alternatively, you can run them under the running water very quickly, but be quick as you don’t want them to get muddy. Put your rusks on the bottom of the plate, put finely chopped tomatoes on top. Sprinkle some feta cheese on top and then drizzle over your agourolado. There are many add-ons that you can combine with chopped onions, even peppers or cucumbers if you like.
10 – And last but surely the very best use of this fabulous olive oil. Use it on any mixed, cold salad. Whether it’s a traditional Greek salad (no lettuce, please!) or a leafy green salad loaded with veggies, agourolado works best for a hearty, healthy salad that blends the flavor well with the freshness of your veggies.
PS – Here’s a recipe for a “Greek” pesto tat my mom used to make (relax Italian friends, we all know pesto is yours)!
Great with any type of pasta
Feta cheese and Kalamata olives give this pesto its Greek flavor. High phenolic agourolado extra virgin olive oil gives it a unique Greek “grandpa” kick. It tastes great over pasta and takes boiled or grilled vegetables to another level.
If you have excess basil, make multiple batches of this recipe to store in the freezer. Just spoon it into ice cream bowls and voila, you have more Greek pesto for another meal.
- ⅔ cup High Phenolic Agourolado Extra Virgin Olive Oil (click here to buy)
- 4 cups fresh basil leaves
- 5 ounces sliced, pitted ripe olives, drained
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
- ½ teaspoon salt
- *Optional: A handful of toasted pine nuts can also be added
In a food processor or blender, combine 1/2 cup olive oil, basil, olives, feta cheese, garlic, and salt. Cover and process until almost smooth, pausing and scraping sides as needed, adding additional oil as needed to achieve desired consistency.
If not serving the pesto immediately, divide it into 1/4 cup portions. Place each serving in a small airtight container and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Makes 1-3/4 cups.
Chef Akis is my cousin who works at Elea, a Greek restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. I asked him to share a recipe I could include and true to his Cretan roots he came up with this Cretan pesto as well as a ‘ladolemono’ perfect for grilled fish.
Chef Akis Cretan Pesto
- 1 cup agourolado (click here to buy)
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 1 cup parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
- 1/2 cup shaved kefalograviera
“Ladolemono” sauce for grilled fish
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2/3 cup agourolado
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp salt
- *1/3 cup fish stock (see instructions below for cooking the fish head)
- lime zest
- 1 tsp honey
As you prepare to grill your fish, cut off the heads and add enough water to cover them in a sauce pan. You only need a small amount of fish stock, so be careful not to add too much water.
Boil the heads for about 15 minutes. Set broth aside.
Place lemon juice, salt and mustard in a food processor. Mix well and slowly add fish stock.
Slowly add the agourolado and mix. Finally add the lime zest and pour over the grilled fish.
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