When Ellen Silverman came by the Laboratory to direct a video shoot, she brought the makings of her breakfast—yogurt, berries, nuts — and then asked me for some extra-virgin olive oil. She said it deepened the flavors dramatically and made them more complex while adding fat to keep her blood sugar stable. I tried it; it was incredibly delicious. It was the first time I had olive oil on breakfast yogurt, but not the first time I had olive oil as a sweet.
Olive oil is routinely dribbled over fresh cheeses like goat, feta and ricotta. Add a little wildflower honey and you have an instant sweet/savory snack or finish to a meal. A few fresh thyme leaves adds a pleasingly herbal note.
When my sweet tooth gets demanding, I’d occasionally make buttered bread or toast sprinkled with sugar. One day I swapped out the butter for olive oil to discover serious, deeply comforting pleasure!
I grill sliced baguette or peasant bread on my stove top toaster, only on one side. I want a soft side to absorb the oil…
It seems I had divined my way to version of Spain’s classic Olive Oil Torta, which is like a thin, crispy-flaky, lightly-sweet cookie.
Olive oil cake was revelation to many who had considered olive only for savory purposes. But the oil comes from a fruit and takes naturally to being paired with sweet, which amplifies its fruit flavors and adding a subtle bit of its own. In my recipe for Fragrant Olive Oil Cake with Fresh Thyme, I add a subtle undercurrent of orange and lemon zest and thyme.
As for which olive oil to use, you’ll find my method for boosting the flavor of vin ordinaire extra virgin oil here and some recommendations from Mario Battali. I’d add Laudemio to the list.