Leek oil: The ancient remedy turned culinary superstar enhancing your meals and health
Vegetable oils have been utilized and valued by humans for thousands of years, as evidenced by archaeological excavations conducted on Bronze Age settlements. These early societies consumed fats derived from rapeseed, flax, poppy, cotton, or sesame seeds.
Such products were highly sought after in ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt. Hippocrates, renowned as the "father of medicine," suggested the use of linseed oil to treat a variety of health conditions, including stomach discomfort. Pharaohs' tombs were even furnished with bottles of palm or black seed oil, believed to hold magical properties.
Centuries ago, experimentation began with combining flavor and nutritious additives to vegetable fats. These added ingredients included various herbs, spices, vegetables, and even fruits. Today, these novel creations are experiencing a revival, favored by those passionate about healthful and unique cuisine. Leek oil is a shining example of this trend.
Leek Oil - Nutritional Value
A quality product should encompass only two ingredients: oil (rapeseed or sunflower) and leek. Both contribute positively to our health.
Rapeseed oil is a potent source of unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (containing a higher concentration than olive oil). These vital nutrients perform many significant physiological roles: they are necessary for the proper functioning of the circulatory system (reducing triglyceride levels, lowering blood pressure, and regulating blood sugar levels), upholding brain and vision health, improving memory and concentration, and easing the symptoms of menopause and premenstrual syndrome. A high demand for omega-3 is common among pregnant women and nursing mothers.
Alternatively, sunflower oil is rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant known for its potency. It lowers "bad" LDL cholesterol levels, restricts the formation of atherosclerotic plaque, inhibits platelet aggregation, and lowers clot risk - all vital in preventing cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin E also boosts muscle efficiency and has positive effects on fertility.
Leek, the second ingredient in the oil, also has numerous benefits. Related to garlic and onions, it's low in calories but packed with fiber, regulating the digestive system, and sulfur compounds. These compounds protect the circulatory system and have bactericidal properties. Leeks are also rich in vitamin C, folic acid, and minerals such as calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.
How to Use Leek Oil
Leek oil should be stored in a cool, dark place. The oil has an unusual, slightly spicy taste and a beautiful green color. It is best suited for cold consumption.
How to savor it? Simply dunking a piece of fresh bread into the oil creates a delicious snack. Leek oil can also enhance various slaws or salads and function as a flavorful addition to grilled meat or baked fish. It can lend its distinct taste and aroma to mashed potatoes or Russian dumplings and complements perfectly with casseroles, pizzas, toast, or sandwiches.
Leek oil can also be used to prepare flavorful, cold sauces, like homemade mayonnaise. This is achieved by breaking a yolk into a bowl, adding mustard (1 teaspoon), apple cider vinegar (2 tablespoons), the juice squeezed from half a lemon, a pinch of salt and sugar. All ingredients are then mixed, while slowly pouring in leek oil (approximately 1.27 cups), continuously whisking with a kitchen whisk or a blender. Once a thick and smooth mass is obtained, it's cooled in the refrigerator.