Inspired by conversations on the FOOD52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.
Today: When it comes to cooking and baking with oil, it's all about finding Mr. Right.
Walking into the oil aisle is a sensory overload: all of those glistening bottles lined neatly in a row, their labels brimming with information. Once upon a time, the decision would have been made for you -- vegetable oil or nothing -- but these days, you have to process loads of information when picking out your purchase. Do you want refined or unrefined? Olive oil or canola? And boy, does the packaging on the pistachio oil look appealing or what?
There are two elements you should take into account when choosing oil:
For frying, the cardinal rule of oil selection is to pick an oil with a smoke point -- the temperature at which the oil starts to smoke -- that is higher than the frying temperature the recipe calls for.
Before you venture down the oil aisle, you should also know that:
Don't panic just yet. We've made a handy list that splits up the oils by application, with a brief blurb on each type:
For dressing and drizzling:
For low-heat or warming (as well as dressings and drizzlings):
For baking and low-heat cooking:
For high-heat applications, frying, sautéing, and searing:
What are your favorite oils to use in the kitchen? Tell us in the comments below.
Photos by James Ransom