I love getting your questions online. It lets me know you are engaged in the site and curious about cooking and cooking techniques. I of course share these interests. Last week, I received a question from Marlene in Passaic, NJ. “I ran out of extra-virgin olive oil but I have some pure olive oil left over, can I use it in place of the extra-virgin?
The simple answer is Yes. But let me clarify the difference between the different types of olive oils. First, all olive oils are made from the pressed fruit of the olive tree.
Pure Olive Oil: sometimes referred to as “classic” or “pure” olive oil, has a milder flavor with just a hint of fruitiness and is a blend of refined and virgin olive oils. It’s usually darker in color and is a great choice fro frying, searing, grilling, and some baking. It is also good for lighting candles.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Top grade of olive oil and is naturally extracted through mechanical means with no heat or chemicals. It is high quality and pricier than other types due to the techniques used to extract it. Use it for everything but when you find a special or pricier bottle (you can taste a difference) use it for uncooked items like salad dressings, marinades, pastas, and toppings. It’s also good in soups, stews, and grilling.
Light Olive Oil: Blended with less virgin oil than regular olive oil to create a very mild flavor, the “light” refers to the color and flavor as opposed to the caloric value (which is the same as others). I don’t use light olive oil at all.
Poaching foods with olive oil have become a big food trend. It adds flavor to the poaching liquid so that the finished item is much richer and tastier. Try olive oil in Olive-Oil Poached Salmon or Eggs Poached in Olive Oil.
For conversions see chart below: