I rarely have a swipe at my fellow bloggers. There are enough ignorant savages out there ready to have a go. So I really should not wade in. But, I do need to get this off my chest before we start. Some bloggers will sell their souls and prostrate themselves for a bit of unearned product. The mere mention of “free samples” gets them to forget their principles, their integrity and their independence. Shame on them.
Having said all that, those lovely people up in Donegal Rapeseed Oil were kind enough to send me an outer of their fine product. What better way to celebrate than with an international taste test, pitting their premium grade oil against some very fine Portuguese olive oil. Seeing as we were going international, we went with a Spanish dish Gambas Pil Pil, using Argentinian prawns, accompanied by Chilean wine and Irish ‘French’ bread.
The full International ingredients list
- 3 tablespoons of Donegal Rapseed Oil – Irish
- 3 tablespoons of Cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Portuguese
- 20 uncooked prawns – Argentinian
- Half a big bulb of purple garlic – French
- Generous handful of fresh parsley – Irish
- Teaspoon of paprika – Spanish
- Teaspoon of chili flakes – Spanish
- French bread to accompany – Irish
- Dry white Rothschild estate wine – Chilean
First, get your oven up to 220º C (440º F). Get the oil into your traditional, genuine Spanish dishes.
Get the oils into the oven and heat them for 10 minutes. Use that time to chop the mountain of garlic.
Next, chop the parsley. There is something good about the nationalistic green of the Irish parsley. No bias here, I promise.
Very carefully, lift the oil out of the oven. It is very, very hot. Then quickly add the garlic and prawns.
Sprinkle the parsley, paprika and chili flakes on both.
Get them back into the oven quickly. They will need between 5 and 10 minutes to cook the garlic and prawns. Use the time to roughly tear the Irish French bread, to pour the wine and to set up the comparative tasting station (a chopping board).
With forks at the ready, begin the scientific comparative tasting.
The Donegal oil works really well. It is delicious. It does show a darker colour though the paprika could be responsible for some of that.
All even after the initial prawn tasting. Time to move on to the bread dunking.
The rapeseed oil is pretty viscous, even when very hot. It dunks well, soaking nicely into the bread. It shows its own flavour and carries the garlic flavour really well too. This is important stuff.
The olive oil is thinner when heated. It still holds flavour and soaks well into the bread.
Both were excellent. The Donegal allowed more of its own flavour to come through( a good thing). The Portuguese was possibly more subtle. Both cooked and held the flavour of the garlic and the prawns very well. Both performed very well in the bread dunking, a vital part of the test.
Importantly, both were subtle enough to allow themselves to be cut by the slightly acidic wine. It turned out to be a fun test and a lovely meal. I think we were the real winners.
Final note on blogging and free stuff: I feel completely comfortable in pitting the gifted Donegal Rapeseed Oil against the Portuguese Olive Oil because both were free. My good friend Rodrigo, himself a Portuguese, brought the latter back from his homeland. I know, it’s clear from this thin excuse that I have no morals at all.