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Olive Oil Powder (The Low-Tech Method)

olive oil powder copy

Molecular gastronomy, the geekiest incarnation of cooking known to man, has recently piqued my interest.  Foams and spherification and liquid nitrogen and the like aren’t particularly common on Seattle menus, but on a recent trip to Spur Gastropub, my dessert was adorned with a pinch of powdered olive oil.  The powder was a delightful surprise – it tastes just like olive oil, and when the dry granules hit your tongue, they dissolve almost instantly.  When I got home, I looked online for a recipe for olive oil powder, but came up empty handed.  I did, however, find an article that described using tapioca maltodextrin to dehydrate olive oil.  I don’t have any maltodextrin, but I did know where to find some instant tapioca mix.  A few hours of experimentation later, and I had a viable recipe.

Total kitchen time: 5 minutes
Makes: 1/2 cup of powder

Shopping list:

  • 1 3oz. package Jello Cook & Serve Fat Free Tapioca Mix
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  1. Using a sieve or a fine mesh strainer, sift the tapioca to remove the little tapioca balls.  Discard the balls.
  2. Place sifted tapioca powder and 1 tbsp. olive oil in a small food processor and pulse on high until blended.  Add the remaining olive oil, 1/4 tsp. at a time just until it forms a spreadable paste.  You may not need to use all of the olive oil – the paste should feel chalky.
  3. Spread the olive oil mixture in an even layer on a microwavable plate.  Microwave on high for 90 seconds.  Remove and let cool 5 minutes.
  4. Using the tines of a fork, break the cooled paste into small pieces.  Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.

This powder is an excellent addition to a bowl of ice cream or other sweet dishes.  Unfortunately, since we’re using off-the-shelf tapioca mix, we do get some of the tapioca flavor.  However, the overwhelming taste is definitely olive oil, and unless you’re ready to start ordering commercial food chemicals, this method ain’t bad for $2.30.

9 comments on “Olive Oil Powder (The Low-Tech Method)”

You can get maltodextrin in a health food store, it is generally used in the high carb muscle mixes. Anyways, if I used maltodextrin, would it be the same ratio, you think?

Also, um…what if you do not own a microwave…

I’ll have to check out the health food stores to see how well the maltodextrin substitutes in. For those interested, you can buy tapioca maltodextrin online at shops like http://www.lepicerie.com/catalog/product_702700_Tapioca_Maltodextrin.html. If using a different powder, I’d approach the recipe the same way: add a small amount of olive oil to start, then gradually add more until you barely get a spreadable paste.

If you don’t have a microwave, I’d put it in a 300-degree oven for a few minutes, until it is slightly dry.

I hope I don’t get branded as a luddite for this comment but at this moment I don’t own a food processor or a blender, just a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer and a mortar and pestle, could either of those replace the food processor in this recipe?

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