Yes, You Can Smoke Olive Oil (And Here's Why You Should)

Spooning olive oil into bowl
Spooning olive oil into bowl - masa44/Shutterstock

Olive oil is a staple in so many kitchens. Its buttery, vegetal flavor forms the basis of all kinds of dishes, from cakes and breads to roasted vegetables and herbed fish. You'll often find it working as a covert ingredient, its purpose merely to sauté or roast some other food rather than to take the culinary center stage. But other times, it gets to be the cardinal ingredient, its peppery, herbal taste foremost in the dish. Smoked olive oil can, of course, be an ancillary ingredient — but it will end up being a taste you want front and center.

Olive oil and smoke have a complicated reputation. Olive oil has a low smoke point when compared with other oils (around 325 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for olive oil vs. avocado oil that has a smoke point more like 520 degrees Fahrenheit) and is typically avoided for high-heat cooking. At higher heats, the flavor of olive oil starts to deteriorate, so it might be surprising to hear that olive oil stands up well to being smoked. But there's a catch. To smoke olive oil, you don't throw it in a fiery smoker and cook it — you cold smoke it instead.

Read more: The 13 Best Steaks For Grilling

Fire Up The Cold Smoker

Smoke coming from black smoker
Smoke coming from black smoker - Anze Furlan/Shutterstock

Cold smoking does still utilize the same smoker you'd stick your barbecue brisket in, but you won't be cooking anything. You'll instead just infuse the flavor of smoke into the olive oil. To cold smoke the oil, you'll need to keep the temperature of the smoker as low as you can (around 110 degrees Fahrenheit at most) while still getting lots of smoke going. One of the easiest ways to get this done is to have a smoker with two distinct chambers so that the olive oil isn't exposed to direct heat — some smokers are specifically built to be able to cold smoke -- but it can still be done with any smoker you have on hand. You can even make your own cold smoker.

Once your smoker is at the correct temperature, just put the olive oil in a heat-resistant container and stick it in. To start with, the olive oil should smoke for about two hours. Stir every once in a while as it smokes to get the smoky flavor infused throughout the oil. Once the oil has had this time in the smoker, you can try a taste. If it doesn't have the intensity of smokiness you're looking for, another 30 minutes in the smoker will probably do the trick.

How To Use Smoked Olive Oil In Your Cooking

Drizzling olive oil on bread
Drizzling olive oil on bread - Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

As you might have guessed at this point, the flavor of your smoked olive oil is going to be, well, smoky. But it's also a little savory and earthy and will take on some of the taste of whatever wood you choose to smoke with (cherry, mulberry, apple, or alder are all light, sweet choices that pair well with the subtlety of olive oil and won't overpower it).

Although the flavor might be a little potent for sweet baked goods — of course, no harm in experimenting if you want to give your cake some smoky complexity — the oil is great for finishing steaks, chicken, and fish. It will also take roasted or sautéed vegetables to the next level and will add another dimension to your favorite sauces and dips. Speaking of dipping, smoked olive oil is delicious on its own as a simple dip for bread. Luckily, too, if you ever find the smoked flavor too overwhelming but still want a hint of it, you can mix the smoked olive oil with regular olive oil to mellow it out. Smoked olive oil will become a kitchen staple right alongside its progenitor.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.