Forget the Olive: Alternative Oils to Add to Your Pantry

Photo: Bryan Bruchman One of Marcus's main focuses in cooking is finding great alternatives. Maybe it's substituting chickpeas for steak one night, or maybe it's using an African spice where an Asian or Latin one is commonly used. Most of us have a staple of diverse oils that we use for specific cooking purposes---sesame for stir-fries, olive for Italian food and salads, canola for frying, and coconut for curry--but it’s important to know what oil options are out there, and what flavor they add to a dish. Fats posses a bad reputation in our flabby-phobic society; however, people forget that oils high in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids protects us from a variety of different ailments including heart disease and inflammation.

Have a look:

Avocado oil. Vibrant in green color with a mild nutty taste and a soft avocado scent, this oil possess a high smoke point of 271 degrees Celsius, meaning it's great for sautéing and frying. Omelets are delicious when cooked in it or add a drop to guacamole for extra creaminess.

Photo: She Paused 4 Thought

Walnut oil. Medium-yellow oil with a nutty flavor and smell. This variety is more perishable than most other cooking oils therefore, reserve this one for salad or fresh in sauces. I like to construct a carrot salad that contains chives, champagne vinegar, parsley, and walnut oil. Another great option is to drizzle on butter nut squash ravioli. Since it is highly perishable it keeps best in the refrigerator.

Photo: Iki Holygoat

Sesame Oil. A strong, pronounced smell and flavor. Sesame oil is great for Asian stir fries, and can be heated to a high smoke point. This oil is the least perishable, especially when stored in a cool, dark and dry place.

Truffle Oil. Nine times out of ten, truffle oil does not actually contain any of the stinky little mushrooms. It is the scent synthesized and infused in olive oil. Nonetheless, the flavor is still divine and taste great on french fries, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and deviled eggs.

La Tourangelle Gift Pack

Some of the above listed oils are hard to find; however, the California company La Tourangell sells high quality oils at a decent price. You can purchase these oils at your local fine food retailer or online through Amazon.