I've been asked by many people about what oil/oils to use in cooking and why. There are many different kinds or types of cooking oils, so it can be difficult to know what to use. I believe most professional chefs/cooks have their favorite oils to use for different applications.
I normally limit myself to using three different types of oils. I prefer to use Olive Oils, Canola Oil and Peanut Oil for everything I do in the kitchen. We're not discussing Canola and Peanut oils today. The best use for Peanut Oil is for deep frying and/or pan frying foods because it has a higher smoking point then most oils. Canola works well for these functions too. But the Canola Oil also is best used in baking and many salad dressings. Today it is Olive Oil for our discussion, so let's start.
We could get very technical when talking about Olive Oil, but not in this blog. I'll try to keep it to basic information that should help you in using it. There are really five types of Olive Oil, but I will deal with just the main three that most of us are familiar with already. The five are; Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Virgin Olive Oil, Pure Olive Oil, Olive Pomace Oil and Lite Oil. Two quick bits on the last two mentioned. Olive Pomace Oil is basically the lowest grade of Olive based oils and Lite has the same amount of calories as any other Olive Oil. That being 125 calories per tablespoon.
The most common and most used of the Olive Oils is the Extra Virgin Olive Oil or EVOO as it is referred to by many chefs and cooks. This one is like fine wine, some are better or more preferred than others. Some of this is due to the olives that are used and their ripeness when processed. This will give you different shades or colors of the EVOO. You will find that different Olive Oils will have different tastes. If you don't know someone that is well educated on EVOO, then just use the brand that works best for you.
EVOO is best used in making dressings because many think it should not be used in cooking. But many chefs/cooks like using it for sauteing dishes. It adds a wonderful flavor. You just need to be careful because it has a low smoke point when you use it to cook. EVOO is also great for dipping sauces and you can get many different ones with differing tastes.
I was in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in late December and discovered a great new store called "Olive Destination." I met and talked with Sandy, the owner. They had only been open a month or two when I was there and the website was not fully up and running. It is now and so please check them out at Olive Destination. They sell all types of Olive Oil from stainless steel kegs. There are some great photos of the place on the website. If there is anything to do with Olive Oil, this is the place to find it. Their e-commerce set-up on the website is still coming but Sandy said they can ship anything you need. Just call and order over the phone or send an e-mail. Their website is a work in progress and they will be adding a lot more info to it. Sandy is the expert on Olive Oil, so if you have questions let her know.
I will continue on Olive Oils tomorrow. For now, have a great day!