Lemon Pepper Olive Oil
Olive oil is well known for being high in heart protective monounsaturates, virgin olive oils also contain a range of antioxidant plant compounds and vitamin E. The main type of fat in olive oil is monounsaturated, which helps prevent cholesterol being deposited on artery walls and therefore helps protect us from cardiovascular disease and strokes. In addition, early pressings of the olives (as in virgin olive oil, particularly “cold pressed” oil) produce an oil that is rich in beneficial plant compounds. These can protect against cancer and high blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and the particular compound oleocanthal, an anti-inflammatory with similar action to ibuprofen. Finally, olive oil is a good source of vitamin E.
Researchers in Italy have found that light destroys many of the disease-fighting compounds in olive oil. Studies showed that after a year, oils stored in clear bottles under store lighting showed at least a 30 percent decrease in antioxidants. Olive oil should be stored in the dark and used within one to two months. When buying olive oil, choose a store that keeps it in dimly lit conditions and has a high turnover. For the full benefit of olive oil, eat it cold in salad dressings or drizzled on bread or vegetables. Don’t use extra virgin olive oil for cooking at high temperatures or the beneficial chemicals will be destroyed.
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 Whole Lemon
2 Teaspoons Multicolored Peppercorns
1 Cup Olive Oil
Prepare a double boiler. Bring the water in the bottom pan to a boil, reduce heat and simmer. Cut the lemon zest into thin strips, making sure you omit the white pith. Thinly slice the other lemon. Crush the peppercorns in a mortar with a pestle. Place the strips of lemon zest, lemon slices, peppercorns, and oil in the top of the double boiler. Cover and cook over simmering water for 1 hour. If you have a digital thermometer, test the oil. It should reach a temperature of 250 degrees before you remove it from the double boiler. Make sure you don’t let the oil burn. Remove from heat, let cool, and then strain through cheesecloth into a clean jar. Cover and store in the refrigerator. You can also leave the lemon strips and pepper in the jar and store in the refrigerator, and then strain before using. Brush over white fish fillets or chicken breasts before cooking. Makes 1 Cup.