Pairing is one of the most important gastronomical concepts. It involves creating dishes with complementing flavors and developing a solid foundation of flavor. Each ingredient needs to work with the other when preparing a meal, especially for Texas olive oil and meat. If you wondered how to perfectly pair the two, here’s a guide for the offering at Texas Hill Country Olive Company!
Why Is Pairing Important?
Crafting a meal is a lot like putting together puzzle pieces. Each piece has its own place and role; without the right piece, it will be incomplete. This same concept applies to the ingredients in a meal. Each one has to be chosen for its role in creating the final dish. Each flavor fits in with the next.
As extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) has several varieties, and each has its distinct flavor, it is important to know how to pair these with the main ingredients in your meals. This is why it is vital to understand how to complement elements with each other while maintaining as many of the natural flavors in the proteins as possible.
The Art of Pairing Fish and Texas Olive Oil
When we think of fish dishes, we think of soft, flaking fillets that melt in your mouth. With a gentle and clean umami flavor, fish is one of the most popular proteins globally. Shellfish has an unparalleled richness that has just the right amount of fat. With this in mind, it is essential to consider the other ingredients added to any dish with fish. Texas olive oil is one of those considerations that matter more than any other.
The trick to pairing an EVOO with fish is to enhance the clean and fresh flavors of the fish by using a mild variety that is delicate and buttery. As many fish dishes are paired with citrus or other equally fresh flavors, pairing it with a delicate oil that will not overpower the meal is important.
From the Texas Hill Country Olive Co. shop, go for a bottle of Hoijiblanca. While this is technically not a mild EVOO as it is more of a medium variety, it is perfect for seafood meals. Its hints of olive and tomato leaves add a freshness to seafood dishes. The initial taste reveals a slight peppery note making it ideal for use where recipes call for a buttery fat.
Delicious Meat Pairings
As more and more people purchase higher quality meats to combat health concerns, more and more people discover that cooking quality meat requires quality ingredients. EVOO is one of them. There are two different types of meat to consider – white meat and red meat. Each has its own distinct complimentary needs when it comes to pairing the right kind of EVOO.
Red meats have a distinct flavor. Beef, lamb, and game are traditionally the top red meats. These meats have bold flavors and can handle a robust and flavorful olive oil. The intense flavors and strong peppery finishes create an excellent flavor base that helps build the pre-existing flavors of the protein. Try varieties made from mission or koroneiki olives in your next meaty course – Texas Miller’s Blend and Super Greek are fantastic options.
There are always exceptions – when slow roasting or sauteing a lamb shank or rack of lamb, opting for a more medium variety is best as this will allow the meat to benefit from the subtle buttery flavor of the EVOO while elevating the natural flavors of the meat.
These leaner and cleaner meats, such as turkey and chicken, tend to pair better with medium varieties – the lightly peppery finish allows these meats to shine on a dinner plate. It is always best to use a mild EVOO that will not overpower the meat. With a robust EVOO, you run the risk of too many herbaceous notes. A Hojiblanca variety is ideal for these dishes as it is perfectly in the middle of the spectrum!
Exceptions to The Rules With Texas Olive Oil
There are a few exceptions to the rules when it comes to creating a dish. You will need to decide whether or not you want to create contrast or compliment the flavors with each other. Contrasting flavors offer a gastronomical edge that leaves the diner wanting more if done correctly.
When creating contrast, consider the other flavors in your meal. For a piece of smoked trout, you can opt for a robust and intensely peppery Texas olive oil with a few caper berries for good measure. Dishes such as a fine steak can also be paired with a light and buttery EVOO to create an extra smooth buttery mouthfeel.
In the wild age of food, it is essential to remember that experimentation is the spice of life! Infused EVOOs are another way you can create stellar dishes that offer one-of-a-kind flavors. Homemade infusions with herbs and aromatics can offer your dishes added layers of flavor without adding additional ingredients to dishes.
Try pairing blood orange-infused Texas olive oil with fish dishes for added freshness and subtly sweet hints of flavor. Citrus or basil infusions can be drizzled over fresh slivers of smoked salmon on bruschetta! Try a delicious Jalapeno-infused EVOO on grilled chicken or beef dishes for a kick like no other. In comparison, a harissa infusion is perfect for lamb or mutton meals for a little middle eastern twist.
Another Aspect To Consider: Local is Lovely
When it comes to pairing flavors, sticking to local produce is an excellent way to ensure that every mouthful is guaranteed to leave you longing for more. Locally produced foods ensure that freshness is a top priority! Local meats are best paired with olive oils produced locally, such as the Texas Hill Country Olive Co. in Dripping Springs, TX.
Try sticking to sourcing your ingredients closer to home for the ultimate flavor experience!