We use oils for both cooking and flavoring our dishes. Because they’re the major carrier of flavor, it’s important to have high-quality oils. Here’s what’s in our pantry.
EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL: Today, finding a fine extra-virgin olive oil is no problem; one simply must decide which fantastic variety to buy. Extra virgin refers to the first pressing of oil extracted from olives by mechanical means, without the use of heat or chemicals. This oil is a seasoning element in its own right. Light is a grade called pure and comes from successive pressings: its color is lighter and the fat content is the same as extra-virgin.
CANOLA OIL: Spicy Asian curries, Mexican soups and stews are cooked with this inexpensive, all-purpose oil, an excellent vehicle for dishes with big, bold flavors.
PEANUT OIL: Because of its tolerance for high temperatures, peanut oil is perfect for frying. Also, it complements the flavors of Asian dishes.
TOASTED SESAME OIL: The dark, assertive flavor of this oil is a natural seasoning for noodle dishes, stir-fries, and Asian-inspired vegetable fillings. Highly perishable, it must be used sparingly.
NUT OILS: Expensive and fragile, walnut and hazelnut oils make fine vinaigrettes and are delicious accents for pastas tossed with toasted walnuts and hazelnuts.
INFUSED OILS: Intensely flavored, expensive, and delicious, these oils enhance salads, pasta, and risotto.
LEMON OIL: This light, clean, and fragrant extra-virgin olive oil is pressed with Eureka lemons which infuses the oil.
PORCINI AND WHITE TRUFFLE OILS: These are distinctive oils with an incredible wild essence. They intensify subtle flavors and make special simple dishes.