What is “a Drizzle of Olive Oil?”

People often ask, “What exactly does it mean when a recipe calls for ‘a drizzle of olive oil?” We would like to say it’s about equal to one of our five-gallon containers. But unless you want to take a bath in EVOO (and you might), that’s probably a bit excessive.


So how much olive oil is in a “drizzle?”

I plugged the phrase into Internet search engines. Here’s what I got back: images of glass cruets dubbed olive oil “drizzlers,” recipes using the term, and an amusing newspaper article about a couple who like to bring a “flask” of olive oil to restaurants so they can drizzle it covertly on food they order.

I turned to friends in the food world – namely chefs and cookbook authors – and asked them what a drizzle involved.

“I think of it as a very fine stream applied from a bottle that is passed quickly over the finished dish. If the bottle doesn’t have a pouring spout, covering half of the bottle opening with a thumb will allow the correct amount to flow.” Fran Gage, author of “The New American Olive Oil: Profiles of Artisan Producers and 75 Recipes.” Her recipes have been featured here.

“A drizzle changes depending on what I’m drizzling on. Fish needs just a light finishing. Tomatoes need a good splash. Here’s what to consider: Is the olive oil filling a supporting role, or is it an equal player?” Trey Foshee, chef at Georges at the Cove in La Jolla, Calif. His recipes have been featured here.

“It’s the finishing touch that dresses up a dish at the last minute. It usually consists of a teaspoon or two, and goes together with a sprinkling of some fresh chopped herbs, and possibly a squeeze of lemon or lime juice (or a wedge of one or the other placed on the plate).” Steve Johnson, chef-owner of the Rendezvous in Central Square in Cambridge, Mass. His halibut recipe has been featured here.

OK, so not everyone agrees on an exact definition. What’s yours?