Take the best olive oil and add black garlic. You’ve got a superfood,
It’s what you do on holiday if you like food. While some people stick to the beach, others go exploring and tasting.
On holiday on the Greek island of Zakynthos Dan Lentell, and his wife went on a tour of the best olive oil press where modern techniques were impressively squeezing every last drop of goodness from local olives.
Unlike most olive oil producers, the people here were also adding extras such as orange, lemon and white garlic. Which piqued Dan’s interest.
Years later with his wife at work and him acting as stay at home dad to their new child, Dan watched a lot of daytime TV cooking shows and became intrigued by the increasing use of black garlic. Lightbulb moment – maybe he could add that to the olive oil of Zakynthos?
Olive oil is of course one of our oldest food stuffs and the Greeks in particular have always venerated the olive tree not just for its enormous age but for its benefits to health.15ml or 1 tbsp of olive oil has around 135 calories, and about 14g of fat – 2g are saturated the rest unsaturated fats.
Diving in further, about 75% is a monounsaturated fat, oleic acid, or omega-9, and we know this has many health benefits.Olive oil is proven to reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels, overall reducing our risk of heart disease.
Black garlic is garlic that has been gently heated over weeks so that the allicin – the chemical that gives garlic its garlicness – breaks down to give an almost caramel flavour, and not the pungent garlic flavour you get from ordinary garlic infused oils.
Black garlic contains oligosaccharides, flavonoids, amino acids, and allicin Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a sulphur compound which also has health benefits, and is packed with antioxidants.So a bottle of black garlic olive oil is a double whammy.
We were sent a taster by Dan, lucky us, and cracked it open immediately.There was a slight garlic aroma and a pleasant whiff of olive oil overlaid with a smidge of burnt sugar.
The slurp off the palm of the hand taste test revealed a bit more of the burnt taste, not unpleasant, the usual grassy notes of good olive oil and the slight catch at the back of the throat you expect and which can reduce you to a coughing fit if not careful.
We used it on salad of course, and stirred it into cous cous instead of regular olive oil which added a bit of interest. It also worked rather well with mashed potato, replacing the delicious but not so good for you, butter.
I made a chorizo and allotment- grown butternut squash puff pastry pizza and drizzle the oil on top before serving, that was a real winner.
I intend to try it bread making too, should be interesting.
If you’re after something a bit different for the dinner table this Xmas and which might assuage your guilt about your gluttony, give this oil a go.