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Oil: which one?
04-26-2010, 11:44 AM
Post: #1
Oil: which one?
A burning culinary question that's always festered deep within me:
Which kinds of oils (olive and its variants, canola, safflower, peanut, etc...) are best suited to various types of cooking, frying, etc... and what are the effects/consequences of using the "wrong" oil? I'd love to know a list of recommendations (and "don'ts," equally important) for each type of oil...
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04-26-2010, 02:14 PM
Post: #2
RE: Oil: which one?
Peanut oil adds a nice earthy flavour but there are LOTS of people with peanut allergies so when I'm cooking for company I don't use it.

Sesame oil is great for Asian dishes, giving stir frys a nice depth they may not otherwise have. It can be a bit pricey though.

My staple oil in the kitchen is a good quality extra virgin olive oil (image below - hope it's not too big) which can be used for pretty much anything except deep frying. For that (deep frying) I use the basic store-brand canola oil.
[Image: 6780000208.jpg]

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
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04-26-2010, 03:15 PM
Post: #3
RE: Oil: which one?
Thanks old honda rider...
You actually brought up something I (shamefully) had not considered- how those oils taste! I was actually looking at this from a pure physics standpoint- what oil is appropriate for any combination of animal/vegetable, the amount/intensity of heat being applied, and the way that heat is applied (the cooking method), though I'll concede that flavor is an important aspect of good cooking Smile

I've always heard that extra virgin olive oil is not appropriate for cooking anything when applying medium to high eat, that it destroys its floral qualities and breaks down in a way that isn't tasty or even healthy...?
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04-26-2010, 03:34 PM
Post: #4
RE: Oil: which one?
(04-26-2010 03:15 PM)cmdrumming Wrote:  I've always heard that extra virgin olive oil is not appropriate for cooking anything when applying medium to high eat, that it destroys its floral qualities and breaks down in a way that isn't tasty or even healthy...?
I've not heard about the health aspect but I do know that if you use too high a heat for an extended period the aromatic qualities of extra virgin olive oil are lost. And that's a shame because a good quality oil can really add some richness.

Must check about the health aspects, I didn't know that.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
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04-26-2010, 06:36 PM
Post: #5
RE: Oil: which one?
(04-26-2010 11:44 AM)cmdrumming Wrote:  A burning culinary question that's always festered deep within me:
Which kinds of oils (olive and its variants, canola, safflower, peanut, etc...) are best suited to various types of cooking, frying, etc... and what are the effects/consequences of using the "wrong" oil? I'd love to know a list of recommendations (and "don'ts," equally important) for each type of oil...

Some oils (like olive) have a low smoke point. That makes them less suited for high temp cooking (like deep frying). Others like peanut oil stand up to high temperatures well.
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04-27-2010, 10:52 AM
Post: #6
RE: Oil: which one?
Thanks wineguy.
I'm starting to think that unless I'm doing high-temp cooking (frying, stir-fry), extra virgin olive oil will work for everything...?

And then I could experiment with other oils (safflower, peanut, canola, vegetable, sesame) for changing up the flavor profile, but not necessarily because those oils will cook the food any better...?

Let me ask this- if you were making salmon cakes, or crab cakes, what oil would you use? and why?
When making stir-fry, what oil do you use? and why?
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04-27-2010, 10:57 AM
Post: #7
RE: Oil: which one?
Stir frying is generally done on a very high heat with constant movement in the wok to avoid burning. Peanut oil would work great but grape seed oil is a cheaper and effective alternative.

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I bought a doughnut and they gave me a receipt for the doughtnut... I don't need a receipt for the doughnut. I give you money and you give me the doughnut, end of transaction. We don't need to bring ink and paper into this. I can't imagine a scenario that I would have to prove that I bought a doughnut. To some skeptical friend, 'Don't even act like I didn't get that doughnut, I've got the documentation right here... It's in my file at home. ...Under "D".'
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04-27-2010, 11:46 AM
Post: #8
RE: Oil: which one?
Brutus, what makes you choose peanut oil over another oil, say safflower, or canola, or vegetable...?
Is it the flavor? Is it how peanut oil performs under extreme conditions like stir-frying?
Hmm, I wonder how a nice 10W-30 would work in this example...
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04-27-2010, 11:55 AM (This post was last modified: 04-27-2010 01:01 PM by Brutus.)
Post: #9
RE: Oil: which one?
Different oils begin to smoke or burn at different temperatures thus it makes sense to use an oil that has a high resistance to heat when you are deep frying or stir frying. If you are sauteeing or frying at a lower temp you can use another vegetable oil. As for extra virgin olive oil I rarely use it to cook with as it has a tendency to lose it's flavour when heated. I use that in salads and for drizzling.

Sacred cows make the best hamburgers.

I bought a doughnut and they gave me a receipt for the doughtnut... I don't need a receipt for the doughnut. I give you money and you give me the doughnut, end of transaction. We don't need to bring ink and paper into this. I can't imagine a scenario that I would have to prove that I bought a doughnut. To some skeptical friend, 'Don't even act like I didn't get that doughnut, I've got the documentation right here... It's in my file at home. ...Under "D".'
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04-27-2010, 12:52 PM
Post: #10
RE: Oil: which one?
it's funny that years ago in stir fry it always use to be ground nut oil that was the main oil until this nut allergy became so wide spread, now it seems to be vegetable or olive oil, people do mention sesame oil but the chinese always insist that it should only be used as in a dipping sauce or a marinade, this does create a slight problem if you do marinade using an oil and how using another oil for the actual stir frying will cross with the flavour of the marinaded meat. more things the chef has to deal with!
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