After reading many articles over the last few months, I’ve been shocked to find out that there are no U.S. regulations on the labeling of olive oil. Did you realize that a company can label an olive oil as “cold pressed” but it doesn’t have to be? They can also label it “extra-virgin” and it doesn’t have to be extra-virgin at all. Another amazing fact is that many olive oils are labeled as a “product of Italy” but in reality, the oil has been shipped in from other countries and then bottled and labeled. Cooks Illustrated came out with great article on this topic in their July issue that thoroughly explains more of what I am touching on here.
As I have been sharing this in my classes and such everyone asks, “So now what do I do?” Well, unfortuntely this means that you have to do your homework to find out exactly where your olive oil is coming from…but I also have good news, I’ve done the leg work for you!
The oil I have been using for years is Bariani Olive oil. The Bariani Family originate from Italy and moved to Northern California in the 80′s where they have their own olive orchard. The olives are hand picked, stone-crushed and cold-pressed into olive oil. The end result is an organic, unfiltered, cold-pressed, decanted olive oil that is full of flavor, and has all of the wonderful antioxidants that olive oil is prized for.
My dear friend Karin gave me this salad recipe years ago and it is a staple recipe in my kitchen now. The flavors are bright and clean and it pairs well with just about any dish.
Karin’s Everyday Salad
1 bag mixed baby greens
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 cucumber, cut into 1-inch pieces
2-3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
juice of half a lemon
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon flax seed oil (optional)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (my favorite is Trader Joe’s)
2-3 Tablespoons freshly grated pecorino romano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
In a large salad bowl, combine mixed greens, carrots, cucumber and tomatoes. Add olive oil, flax seed oil (if using), Italian seasoning, pecorino romano, garlic, salt and pepper to salad. (If you prefer, you can mix all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl and then pour over greens). Toss very well, at least 15 times and then taste. Adjust with salt and pepper, if needed, and serve immediately.
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