November 2008 Issue

9 Specialty Oils Make Intriguing Additions to Your Pantry

Much like you select quality fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses, selecting the right oil can make or break a recipe as well as your health. But with so many oils to choose from, knowing which one to use for each recipe is key. EN regularly recommends olive oil or canola oil for everyday use because they boast the most healthful fatty acid profiles of oils well-suited for general use. Others donít fare as well for cooking, are too strongly flavored or are too expensive for everyday use. But you can still experiment in small quantities. The best oils for frying have a high "smoke point," so they can be heated to a high temperature before they smoke and burn. Everyday oils with the highest smoke points include corn, peanut, safflower, sunflower and soybean. Specialty oils offer taste sensations beyond those found in bland oils like canola, sunflower and safflower. Think of these suddenly popular gourmet oils as culinary opportunities. All oils are pure fat, but when used in moderation in place of saturated fat-rich butter or trans-laden hydrogenated fats, they can be heart-healthy. Hereís a culinary guide to selected specialty oils.

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