Oil and fat can be a contentious subject for some. Many shy away from it fearing for their health, but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Fat is a natural energy source that our bodies need in reasonable amounts like anything else, not to mention one of the major vehicles for flavor in food.
But in the same way, you wouldn’t normally pick up a handful of weeds off the ground and eat them, you probably aren’t going to ingest a hunk of bacon fat. If you’re looking for tips on how to better utilize different fats and oils in your cooking, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are three tips for cooking with oil any chef can do.
1. Homemade Dough
All your favorite types of dough use oils and fats. Pie crust? Biscuits? Pizza crust? Whatever it is, it’s got it. Different doughs are matched best with different types of oil, like pizza with olive oil, pie crust with butter or lard, etcetera. One key thing to remember, though, is to keep solid fats as cold as possible, as that makes the resulting dough better in texture and taste.
2. Magic Shell
Ever seen that fantastic chocolate sauce that hardens on whatever you pour it on? Don’t want to shell out way too much to get a tiny bottle at the grocery? Then you’re in luck because it’s super easy to make at home. All you need is some melted chocolate and coconut oil. Stir the two together, spread it on some ice cream, and it’ll harden within minutes. Coconut oil’s versatility in the kitchen and many other areas of life make it one of the all-time best fats, so make sure to keep it in your pantry. You can even use coconut oil for cooking popcorn, for sautéing, for making sauces, or for any other type of cooking that requires oil.
3. Sauces and Condiments
As mentioned before, oils and fats are an excellent vehicle for extra flavor and richness. Because of this, many of your favorite sauces and condiments feature different oils as a primary ingredient. Mayonnaise can be easily made at home with some egg yolks, olive oil, and a little salt. Add some extra depth to any pasta dish by drizzling in some olive oil and tossing in a pat of butter when you finish it in the sauce (side note: always finish your pasta in the sauce). There are lots of other possibilities, too, from dressings to bechamel to loads more.
There’s plenty of ways oil can help you with cooking. We’ve just scratched the surface of how versatile it is, so keep cooking and learn as you go to see just what some simple fat can do for you. Be sure to find more helpful eating posts on Thought for Food.