Smoked Olive Oil Is Your Secret For More Savory Salad Dressings

Having a bottle of olive oil sitting in the pantry never fails to come in handy. It's good enough on the sizzling hot pan, but can also be used for a myriad of other purposes. Salads, in particular, can always use a drizzle or two to bring out the vegetables' natural flavors. If this oil still doesn't feel like it's enough and you're looking for an extra kick, perhaps smoked olive oil might be a more suitable choice. It still offers all the usual marvels as regular olive oil, but with a smoky, savory edge that takes your salad dressing to the next level.

Based on the name, you probably already have an idea of what smoked olive oil is. Simply put, it's made by cold-smoking extra virgin olive oil for about 30 seconds to a minute. At its core, you'll still taste olive oil's unique mixture of fruity, peppery, and slightly bitter notes. The woodsy, smoky undertone, however, brings about a complexity that elevates anything it touches. The distinct smokiness is a beautiful reminiscence of the charred, wood-fired goodness of a grill.

This sounds a bit out of place for something that normally favors freshness like salads, but that's why it's such an intriguing addition. It creates a rich, savory base that complements a wide range of ingredients — anything from robust seasonings to fresh vegetables and savory protein. The contrast adds a whole new dimension to your salad, giving a balanced blend of light and deep flavors.

The many ways to use smoked olive oil as a salad dressing

Almost any dressing that typically uses olive oil can use this smoky upgrade. Needless to say, a vinaigrette sits at the top of the list. As always, the usual ratio of three parts oil to one part vinegar still applies. Use whichever vinegar you have at your disposal, whether it's apple cider, red wine, white wine, or even balsamic. Mix this combination with other ingredients like honey, mustard, or maple syrup for a dressing layered with a bit of everything. It works marvelously in a lot of salads, but you might find ones with a leafy green base to be especially fitting.

Without the vinegar, smoked olive oil still makes a divine salad dressing. On its own with just a pinch of pepper, you'll love the magic it brings to Caprese salad. With a squeeze of lime juice, it's the key to bringing together a summery corn salad or giving your good old potato salad a special twist.

You can also add lemon juice, honey, and mustard for a blend of zesty, sweet, peppery, and subtly creamy flavors. Drizzled it over a salad loaded with citrus and you've got a phenomenal side dish for all your summer cookouts.