Extra virgin olive oil is the ideal condiment to use in a healthy diet. The unique qualities of extra virgin olive oil can best be appreciated by using it in the traditional manner as a condiment for the countless types of salad that can be made.
Mixed Roman Salad
This is unquestionably the ancient forebear of all salads. It is made with a springtime selection of wild leaf vegetables such as wild chicory, burnet, mallow, rocket, rampions, tender borage, sorrel, purslane and wild fennel. Clean off any soil and wash the vegetables thoroughly, then season them with salt and a little lemon juice. The oil must be fruity, with vibrant bitter and piquant zest to match the aromatic vegetables. Finely chopped spring onions can also be added if desired.
This healthy, flavoursome salad contains a mixture of finely chopped Savoy cabbage, radishes, green cabbage and red cabbage together with garden cress leaves and grated radish. The fiery, spicy flavours and aromas must be complemented by a full-bodied oil with significant bitterness and zest. A little mustard powder mixed with lemon juice can be added to pep up the condiment.
The delicate flesh and refined flavours of fish and crustaceans mean that they are ideal for seasoning with extra virgin olive oil.
Buy around 200 g of fresh anchovies for each person. Clean them carefully and remove the bones and the fins from the back and the tail. Butterfly them and soak them in plenty of lemon juice in a dish. Marinate them on both sides in the fridge for around 12 hours, then lay them on the serving dish and season them with oregano, a little salt and dense, moderately spicy extra virgin olive oil. It is also possible to sprinkle some chilli flakes or powder on top.
Stuffed Oranges with Prawns
Buy around 100 g of prawns and one orange for each person. Clean the prawns thoroughly, peel them and remove the heads. Cut the flesh into small pieces and put it in some lemon juice, then leave it to marinate in the fridge for at least 6 hours. Slice through the oranges just above the centre and remove the flesh, then dice it. Set it aside, along with the juice. Fill the oranges with the prawn pieces and the orange flesh and juice. Season with salt and moderately fruity, slightly piquant extra virgin olive oil, which should be flavoured with finely chopped chives. If you like, the oranges can also be garnished with a green sprig of wild fennel.