Creating Umami with Texas Olive Oil

by Darrell Spivey
Creating Umami with Texas Olive Oil - Texas Hill Country Olive Co.

Any foodie knows the feeling of sinking your teeth into an indescribably good umami meal - the savory flavor sensation that is unlike any other. Whether you are sampling an unctuous Thai curry or a delicate Cacio e Pepe pasta dish, umami is the flavor you yearn for in the middle of the night. Creating umami shouldn’t require a degree in gastronomy. Here's how you can create this unique flavor at home with Texas olive oil! 

But First, What is Umami? 

Translated literally to the essence of deliciousness, this flavor profile was discovered by a Japanese scientist while sipping on a bowl of kelp broth - Dr. Kikunae Ikeda noted that it was a distinct flavor compared to other savory profiles such as bitter, sour, or salty. There is a notable unctuousness and a mouthful feeling - lasting and morish. Umami is the definition of soulful in every single bite.

Notable ingredients with an umami flavor include ripe tomatoes, soy sauce, anchovies, hard cheeses, and mushrooms. These flavors can be easily honed in on and cultivated into each meal. The secret to creating an umami flavor profile is often in a dish's simplicity. 

Wonderfully Indescribable Umami Dishes 

If you are wondering how to recreate this delicious sensation in a meal, here are some of the most impressive umami dishes you can make. 

  • French onion soup with pecorino toast - Made with a delicate buttery Texas olive oil, this tasty soup is umami in its entirety. Adding a slice of toasted bruschetta brushed with EVOO and topped with your favorite hard cheese is the perfect way to complete this meal. Add a few dried shiitake mushrooms to your soup for an added kick.
  • Grilled aubergines with a soy dressing - Drizzle a hearty glug of Greek-style Texas olive oil onto pre-salted aubergines before popping them onto the grill; serve over a bed of sticky jasmine rice, sesame seeds, and a soy ginger drizzle. 
  • Proscuitto and anchovy pappardelle - The trick to any great pasta dish is in the pasta itself; it should be made with just the right amount of salt and the most delicate oil. Homemade pappardelle is paired well with a robust Texas olive oil, anchovies added to the start of the sauce and finished with fresh slices of cured meats. Add a little hint of chili to this dish for the ultimate elevation.
  • Portobello mushroom fries - Are a delicious take on a fast food staple! Combine with a dipping sauce and a medium Texas olive oil, and you've got yourself the perfect combination. 

Using Texas Olive Oil to Elevate Umami Profiles 

The formula for umami is simple; oil + salt + time = umami. Creating this unique flavor profile is simple. It harnesses the ingredient's natural flavor, and it allows the ingredient to showcase itself. 

Use mild Texas olive oil and mineral salt to marinade fresh vegetables and meats and slowly cook the ingredients in the oven, on a low-n-slow grill, or in a pot on the stove. Add naturally umami-rich foods such as sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, soy, and hard cheeses - in generous yet not overpowering proportions.

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