Cooking With Fats and Oils

Photo by Africa Studio

One thing that everyone needs to keep in mind when cooking is what fat you’re using and when it is appropriate. By this, I mean certain oils, butter, and fats can be used in various ways to get the best results when cooking a dish. I’m going to go over a few tips and tricks that can help you navigate the multitude of options out there. Some are better for a specific application, while others are better for others.

One of the most popular oils available right now is olive oil, and people tend to use that for everything they do in the kitchen. Olive oil has a very shallow smoke point, so it can’t get very hot before the oil smokes. Virgin and extra-virgin olive oil have an even lower smoke point which makes them not ideal for cooking. Avocado oil is excellent for cooking because it has a very high smoke point. It still has similar health benefits as olive oil. I also think that avocado oil brings less flavor to dressings, so if you’re making a mayo when you want it to taste like mayo, I will stick with the avocado over the olive oil.  If you are going to make mayo, check out this fool proof recipe.

Butter is also a great way to start a dish, but I tend to go and clarify my butter first if I’m bringing the temperature higher. Clarified butter is just butter that has the milk solids removed, and this can be done by warming up and melting the butter and then just skimming out the milk solids. This will give you the same great buttery taste but not burn on the pan. This is a deal when making pancakes or waffles because we’ve all seen those overly brown edges that we get on pancakes. 

Another great way to add flavor to a dish is using some sort of meat fat as the base of your dish. This is great if you have it available, but it does come with extra health concerns because usually, it is not the healthiest form of fats. I always have a little bit of bacon grease on the side that I can use when needed. If you’re looking for the healthiest option, check out this article. This does add an extra layer of flavor, but it can also be a concern if you’re cooking a vegetarian dish. It’s usually easier to stick with clarified butter or avocado oil, as mentioned earlier.

That’s its oil can be a complicated aspect of cooking. Hopefully, knowing a few of the basics will help you navigate this vast market. There’s also quite a bit of research you can do online. Here’s a link to an article that has a more in-depth explanation. Hopefully, this will be bringing you one step closer to cooking your own fresh meals. Let me know on Twitter how your cooking experience goes and what fat you used to start the dish.

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