Quick Tips for Oil
What oil is best for cooking different foods?…
Flavoured oils are great with meats, fish dishes and poultry.
Olive oil is perfect with bread as a substitute for butter, because it contains plenty of healthy mono unsaturated fats. Extra virgin olive oil is best for this, but some nut or vegetable oils also go well with bread.
Adding a little oil to butter when you’re frying can help prevent the butter burning and the food sticking. However, oil in a spray form is a healthier substitute for butter, as you can control how much you use and it has fewer bad fats.
Brushing meat with your favourite oil (whether that’s extra virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil) can help to seal and brown it.
When you’re roasting vegetables, use nut oil or olive oil, rather than butter, to add flavour to the vegetables.
When you’re frying, make sure you heat the oil properly before you put the food in the pan. This stops the food soaking up excess fats and reduces the risk of it sticking to the pan.
In baking, olive oil is a healthier alternative to other fats and has a subtle flavour.
Extra virgin oil and olive oil, as well as avocado, palm and coconut oil are great for frying, roasting, sautéing, stewing, baking or braising.
For drizzling over salads or finished dishes, use an unfiltered extra virgin olive oil or an unrefined nut or seed oil, such as pumpkin seed or pine nut oil.
If you want a neutral flavour, canola or rapeseed oil is a healthy choice because it’s higher in mono unsaturated fats and Omega 3 fatty acids than most vegetable oils.
Remember when you’re cooking at high heat, the more refined the oil the higher the smoke point.
Keeping & Storing Oil
All oils are sensitive to heat, light and oxygen, whether they are refined or not. So you need to be storing oil in sealed containers, in a cool, dark, dry place. If you store them incorrectly, they might thicken and lose their quality. However coconut oil naturally become thick when it is cool, almost like a butter consistency, when it’s heated it will become oil like.
Oils high in non-saturated fats will keep for up to a year, or maybe even more. Most other oils will usually last six to eight months after they’ve been opened. The Cole & Mason Classic and Flow Select Oil and Vinegar Pourers, with their sealed lids, are ideal for storing and keeping oil.
All oils react differently to being heated, and are tested to find the maximum temperature they can safely be heated to. This is called the ‘smoke point’, that is, the temperature at which you first see and smell smoke.
An oil’s smoke point determines how it should be used – whether that’s to dress a warm or cold dish, for shallow frying at a low heat or deep-frying or roasting at high temperatures.
In general, the more refined an oil is, the higher the smoke point, because many of the impurities that cause the oil to smoke have been removed.
Olive oil reaches its smoke point at a relatively low temperature. Compounds within it, such as water and fatty acids, begin to break down and it can give food a burnt taste. Better quality extra virgin olive oils can be used in frying, as long as you control the heat – you can even reuse after cooking with oil, on salads or for sautéing vegetables, saving you money and time in the kitchen.
Using the right equipment
Seasoning and flavouring food while you’re cooking becomes much easier when you have the right tools for the job. Cole & Mason has developed a variety of oil and vinegar pourers to suit most situations.
The Classic Oil and Vinegar Pourer is a refined but simple dispenser, which features the Cole & Mason no-mess lid, feeding excess liquid back into the bottle to keep your worktop clean. If you want to have greater control with seasoning, the Flow Select Pourer has pour and drizzle options and an easy-seal twist cap, as well as the no-mess lid.
If you’re counting the calories, the Cole & Mason Oil Mister is ideal. It lightly sprays small quantities of oil over the surface of your pan or food, so you use much less when you’re frying or lining a pan.
With all these products, you can add dried herbs and spices to create oil and vinegar infusions – the anti-clog filter prevents food particles getting stuck in the mechanism. If you want to store your infusion, it’s best to use dried herbs and spices rather than fresh, to prevent micro-organisms developing.
A member of the cabbage family, rapeseed is used to make a refined oil and a cold-pressed oil. The latter has become the darling of the British kitchen in recent years – for several reasons. It has a mellow, subtle flavour, and less than half the saturated fat of olive oil. It also has a high smoke point (200°C) so you can use it in many types of cooking without losing the flavour or the health benefits. It’s great for making dressings, mayonnaise and pesto, and ideal for roasting.
Most chefs would say olive oil is the single most important ingredient they use in their kitchen. It enhances the flavours of many dishes – salads, soups, fish and meat dishes and vegetables. The viscosity of olive oil varies from light to medium, and some are quite dense.
If the label says the oil is estate bottled, this means the olives have been handpicked, and pressed on the farm where they were grown. These oils are often superior in quality.
The best way to taste olive oil is to sip it from a glass and let it roll around your tongue. It doesn’t respond well to being exposed to air and heat, and you should keep it in the darkest part of the kitchen.
A heavy oil extracted from fresh coconut. Due to high levels of saturated fats, coconut oil is one of the most long-lasting oils – you can keep it for up to two years before it deteriorates. It can be used in place of olive oil or sunflower oil. However, although the saturated fats help preserve the oil, they make it less healthy than other oils, such as olive, so you need to be careful not to eat too much of it.
This vibrant green oil with avocado aroma, is good in high temperatures. With a high smoke point this oil is good for stir-frying and searing and has a soft, nutty taste.
This oil can be heated but impairs flavour, it is best for drizzling.
This oil is a light-medium yellow oil that comes from wine. It has a medium-low smoke point that is good for cooking, sautéing or light frying, it can be used as a dressing ingredient.
With a very low smoke point it’s best to use this oil without heat. Use for dressing salads or drizzling over couscous or cooked pasta.
Light, odourless and a virtually flavourless oil, pressed from sunflower seeds. Pale yellow in colour this oil is good for cooking, salad dressings, and is used in the manufacture of margarines and spreads.
Macadamia Nut Oil
Oil extracted from the macadamia nut, with a fine quality similar to olive oil. This has a nutty taste but is best unheated, used for drizzling on vegetables.
A yellow-orange fatty oil that comes from the crushed palm oil nut. With a high smoke point this is a good all-purpose cooking oil.
Mild-medium yellow colour from the germ of a corn kernel, good for frying and making marinades or dressings.
Oil infused with herbs, spices or other tasty or aromatic foods bring a new dimension of flavour to a dish, without introducing the texture of the added ingredient.
There are fruit oils similar to olive oil, such as avocado and argan oil. Nut and seed oils, such as walnut, hazelnut, sesame and pumpkin seed are used mainly for their distinctive flavour, and are relatively expensive. Vegetable oils are generally for everyday use. Citrus oils – for example, lemon and orange – are used for flavouring.
Culinary oil can be made from plants or animal fats, or it can be synthetic. It’s used in baking, frying and other types of cooking, as well as in salad dressings and sauces. Each oil has its own flavour characteristics and cooking qualities, and is used in many different ways in cuisines around the world.