Thanksgiving Day in the United States heralds the beginning of the Christmas season. According to some polls, the holiday is the second favorite among Americans, right after Christmas.
Thanksgiving is generally associated with overindulging in fatty, salty, and sweet foods with family and friends. According to some estimates, Americans consume between 2,500 and 4,500 calories in food.
Health-conscious consumers can look for ways to make America’s favorite food a little healthier, but without cutting out indulgent flavors.
See also:Pouring olive oil for Thanksgiving
One of the best ways to do this is to incorporate extra virgin olive oil into a variety of dishes, from quintessential turkey to garnishes and desserts.
Along with the health benefits derived from its phenolic compounds and wide range of flavor profiles, extra virgin olive oil fits many common dietary restrictions, including kosher, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and keto.
“I am cooking for my business partners and their families, which are about 20 people, but on one condition: it will be a ‘Tuscan Thanksgiving,’” Rolando Beramendi, cookbook author and founder of Manicaretti Italian Food Importers, told Olive Oil Times.
“I am making the food with traditional American ingredients but in a traditional Tuscan way of cooking,” he added.
Signature Thanksgiving food is easily enhanced with extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil’s chemical stability when exposed to high heat for long periods of time makes it perfect for baking turkeys.
For those following traditional recipes, use a flavor injector to inject medium strength extra virgin olive oil directly into the breast meat for a juicier texture and added flavor.
For those without an injector handy, gently lift the skin off the turkey and rub olive oil over the breast meat. Coating the entire bird with olive oil during the last 30 minutes of baking results in crisp, golden skin.
Nancy Harmon Jenkins, food journalist and author of Virgin Territory: Exploring the World of Olive Oilshe admitted she wasn’t too thrilled with the turkey (fittingly, the Maine native prefers lobster drizzled with olive oil).
However, he told us that the best turkey he had ever tasted was fried in extra virgin olive oil, although frying turkey at 360ºF (180ºC) requires a significant volume of EVOO and setup to do so safely.
For those looking to try something a little different, Beramendi has an option for what he called a Tuscan-inspired turkey.
He recommends deboning the breasts leaving the skin intact. Next, stack the breasts on top of each other with the fatty parts facing up and down.
“And in the middle you put branches of rosemary and sage, a little salt and herbs,” he said. “Then you tie it up, so it becomes a nice roll, and you sear it in olive oil and you get a nice crispy look on the outside.”
Afterward, she recommends pouring in whole milk or heavy whipping cream to coat the seared breasts, then adding a bit of bay leaf, rosemary sprigs, and peppercorns before bringing the mixture to a boil and letting it simmer for 45 minutes.
“The turkey gets nice and cooked, but it stays very pink and juicy in the middle,” he said. After the turkey is boiled, the last step is to put it in the oven and let it bake the rest of the way.
“As part of the basting process, drizzle a little olive oil over the turkey,” he said. “Turkey doesn’t have as much fat in the first place, so using more olive oil in the process would be great.”
Once it’s out of the oven, Beramendi recommends using strong extra-virgin olive oil on the turkey instead of the traditional sauce to lighten the meal and provide a new dimension of flavor.
the side dishes
While extra virgin olive oil can transform the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, its use is certainly not limited to the main course.
From traditional vegetable mixes to mashed potatoes, extra virgin olive oil can enhance a wide range of garnishes at the Thanksgiving table.
For those who aren’t anointed with cooking with olive oil, Jenkins recommends starting with something simple, like a salad with fresh extra virgin olive oil.
“Start by insisting that a salad be part of the meal,” he said. “That’s not a tradition at all, but it should be. If you’re shy about olive oil, that’s the best place to start.”
Jenkins also recommends serving raw vegetables with a strong extra-virgin olive oil dipping or olive oil-based dipping sauce while all the guests arrive and the entrees are still being prepared.
Jenkins said several vegetarian family members would join her, and she maintains that olive oil is a necessary part of any vegetarian diet. “It adds the kind of depth of flavor that meat has without adding meat to it,” he said.
As a result, Jenkins recommends preparing a variety of vegetable-based dishes with extra virgin olive oil, including roasted carrots, brassica, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli.
Along with turkey, mashed potatoes are another Thanksgiving classic that’s easily enhanced with extra virgin olive oil. If possible, Beramendi recommends splurging on a new oilwhich gives mashed potatoes a fluorescent green color.
See also:Roasted Potatoes with Garlic, Lemon and Cilantro (Batata Hara)
“Just boil the potatoes, put them in a food processor real quick and add the Olio Nuovo and nutmeg,” he said, adding that the result is a flavorful, rich, dairy-free dish.
Beramendi also plans to give traditional pumpkin and zucchini dishes a Tuscan twist.
“Of course, you need pumpkin,” he said. “So I’m going to do a Zucca tortelli— pumpkin puree ravioli — and I’m going to serve them with olive oil and sage. Inside the pumpkin puree, I’ll put some amaretti biscuits for texture.”
Along with the rest of the food, olive oils can play a transformative role in dessert preparation.
For example, drizzle extra virgin olive oil over ice cream or gelato for a Tuscan twist on an American classic, or get a little more creative and try an olive oil-inspired cake.
However, Jenkins said that incorporating olive oil into a traditional pumpkin or apple pie is a bit trickier. “The big problem, of course, is that olive oil is liquid and butter is solid, so they react differently,” he said.
See also:Salted rosemary and olive oil ice cream
For those adventurous enough to try making an olive oil-inspired pie crust, Jenkins advises against looking online for direct substitutions, as they tend to vary significantly.
“I get carried away by the feeling of the crowd more than anything,” he said. “The other thing about butter is that you can whip it into a real foam, especially with egg and sugar, and it’s very difficult to do with olive oil because it collapses so quickly.”
“So you have to keep that in mind,” Jenkins added. “And maybe put more yeast in [the pie crust] than you would do with butter to make up for that.
Instead, Jenkins recommends making a moist cake with extra virgin olive oil. “I much prefer a cake made with olive oil than one made with butter,” he said. “It is logical because olive oil is a liquid”.
For Thanksgiving, Jenkins plans to bake a cake inspired by her great-aunt, who passed down a traditional apple pie recipe.
“I had a recipe for a traditional Maine apple pie made with lots of chopped fresh apples and walnuts,” he said. “She would never have used olive oil because it was not part of her cooking, but I make that cake with olive oil and I maintain that it is a much better cake with olive oil than with butter.”
Be creative, but know your limits
Extra virgin olive oil can enhance almost any Thanksgiving dish. However, Jenkins cautions that the holidays can be stressful enough without trying an overly elaborate recipe.
“I would recommend people start with a written recipe for olive oil instead of trying to take a favorite cake made with butter and turn it into olive oil and get an idea over a period of time of what olive oil does to you. a pastry dough,” he said. “And then find these equivalencies and start experimenting.”
“I certainly wouldn’t start Thanksgiving because you have enough to worry about without having to worry about whether you have the right amount of olive oil in your shortbread cake,” Jenkins concluded. “Keep it simple for you. That is the most important”.