Tag Archives: extra virgin olive oil

Are you ready for my Italian tuna salad recipe?

image source - flickr.com/photos/roboppy
image source – flickr.com/photos/roboppy

Yes. Yes, you are.

It’s sandwich season again, and I love a great tuna sandwich. What I don’t love though is a lot of mayo, so here is my simple mayo-free tuna salad that is loaded with Italian flavors:

First of all, use a solid tuna packed in oil and not water. Tuna packed in water is tasteless. I know. I know. Tuna in oil is higher in fat than it is in water, but we’re not using any mayo, and we will be draining most of the oil anyway. Though it costs a bit more, I use an Italian tuna packed in extra virgin olive oil.

Season with black pepper, but no salt. The capers should provide enough saltiness.

Don’t use just any olive oil. For some deep flavor, break out your finest extra virgin olive oil.

Because this tuna salad is less “wet” than a mayo-heavy version, it holds up great on a crusty, rustic bread. Try adding some ripe tomato slices, arugula, and italian olives.

2 5-oz. cans of solid light or white tuna packed in oil, drained
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp. Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp. capers
2 tbsp. high quality extra virgin olive oil
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Black pepper, to taste

Put all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together with a fork while breaking up the tuna.

Buon appetito!

Is it okay to do all of my cooking with a high quality extra virgin olive oil?

image source - flickr.com/photos/chezdom
image source – flickr.com/photos/chezdom

No…it’s not.

Every Italian kitchen should have at least two types of extra virgin olive oil on hand: a very flavorful, high quality oil and a lighter, good quality oil. Why not just go with the flavorful, high quality oil? Well, the higher quality, less refined extra virgin olive oil has a low smoke point (the temperature at which it begins to smoke), so when used in higher heat cooking, the oil will burn and become rancid. For this reason, your high quality oil should really only be used on salads, for bread, or drizzled on cooked meats, pasta, and soup.

The smoke point of a lighter, more processed extra virgin olive oil can be more than twice that of the higher quality, unadulterated oils, so most of your cooking can be done with this oil. Sautéeing and roasting are great with this lighter oil.

The only time when a lighter olive oil is not the right choice for cooking is when deep-frying or using extreme high heats. A light sunflower oil is a great alternative. It has the highest smoke point, and will maintain your food’s flavor at high temperatures.