Fresh - Sourced - Tasted
Extra virgin olive oil is our passion at Market Hall Foods (formerly The Pasta Shop). We take more steps than the average retailer to ensure that we're bringing you the best-quality, freshest and most delicious extra virgin olive oil available. These are just some of the reasons we've been given the Retail Recognition Award by the California Olive Oil Council.
Every year, as the new harvest oils begin to become available (usually mid-January), we begin the long and arduous process of tasting our way through the hundreds of extra virgin olive oils available in the US - olive oils from California and Italy, Spain and Greece, France and Australia. We're lucky enough to have expert tasters on staff (For instance, Chef Sandy Sonnenfelt is a member of the California Olive Oil Council's Taste Panel) and their expertise is invaluable in our assessments. The current harvest of every oil is tasted and compared - just because we've carried an oil before does not mean we will do so again. Extra virgin olive oil is very much like wine - different every year based on a huge number of factors.
Using Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is so versatile in the home kitchen, from dressing salads to finishing desserts, we're always finding new ways to enjoy this staple. High quality extra virgin olive oil is best enjoyed raw or gently heated, because high-heat not only lessens all the beautiful subtle flavor tones, but also all the health properties are lost. We do use extra virgin olive oil for sauteing in our kitchens and recommend you do so as well, but the key is to cook quickly and not let the pan get too hot. Market Hall Foods carries a great variety of extra virgin olive oils, all meeting our standards for taste, source and quality, at different price levels for all of your needs.
With these tips in mind, please see below for a few ideas on how to best use extra virgin olive oil.
Storing Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil is a perishable product and should be stored in a cool, dark place, tightly covered. The refrigerator is not a good place, contrary to many what books say. Neither is next to the stove or oven - the heat will degrade the quality of the oil. Light, heat and oxygen are enemies of extra virgin olive oil. Try to buy oils in dark glass bottles and use it quickly!
Unopened, the bottled oil should last up to 18 months. Once it's been opened, we recommend finishing the bottle within a few months.
- Dress grain salads, (farro, bulgur, quinoa), with a mix of extra virgin olive oil and sherry or red wine vinegar.
- Finish grilled beef with a drizzle of a bold, spicy extra virgin olive oil.
- Serve vanilla ice cream with a fruity, green extra virgin olive oil and flaky sea salt.
- Pour into a pot of warm beans like cannelini, flagelots or even pinto.
- Season sliced, raw fish with a delicate, floral extra virgin olive oil.
- Add a good pour to a pot of finished polenta, rather than butter. Try the same with risotto.
- Make a simple cake batter with extra virgin olive oil. Serve the cake with strawberries drizzled with balsamic and black pepper.
- Don't forget the classic uses: whisk into vinagrettes, mix with bruschetta toppings, or use as a dipping oil!