Dishes cooked with olive oils are tasty and healthy, and by switching from high-fat oils to olive oil, you can greatly improve the quality of your foods. Here are a few tips for cooking with olive oil.

1. Do not heat a fine unprocessed oil unless you need to cook an especially hot dish

High-quality olive oils impart a great taste if they aren’t cooked, but heating them removes their delicate flavors. When you get a new olive oil, try maing an olive oil bread dip, which you can make easily by simply adding a few twists of fresh cracked pepper to a small dish of olive oil. Find some good bread and taste the dip. When you understand the delicate flavor of your olive oils, you can use them more effectively in dishes by adding them after the dish is completely cooked.

2. Pick the right olive oil and the right amount of oil for the dish

Darker olive oils work better for richer dishes, while light olive oils impart more of a flavor. Each should be used sparingly. Again, you have to regularly taste your oils to develop your taste preferences and to better understand how to use them appropriately, particularly if you’re adding olive oils to pastas or other dishes that already have a great deal of flavor.

3. If you are heating the oil, monitor the temperature closely

The smoke point of a fine olive oil is significantly higher than the smoke point of a low-quality oil, but many new cooks still overheat oils before adding ingredients. This diminishes the taste that the olive oil imparts in the dish and can affect any herbs or spices in the dish, particularly if the cook is using fresh spices.

When you start using fine olive oils, you will improve all of your dishes substantially. Be sure to keep experimenting. You’ll quickly find new, inventive ways to use olive oils while you notably decrease your daily intake of harmful fats.