- Brandon Nelson
Tanya just recently went to work at "Food and Vine" here in Napa. They are major purveyors of grapeseed oil. Now, of course, our kitchen is chock full of samples. Straight grapeseed oil is a fine cooking oil. It has a high smoking point, and is lower in fat than other offerings like canola or vegetable oil. It has a much weaker flavor profile than olive oil or corn oil, so it works nicely with infusions.
I'm new to grapeseed. I do almost all of my cooking with olive oil or butter. What input and ideas do all of the other brilliant minds out there have to offer me for this new addition to my pantry?
P.S. Support the site! Shop the Chowmarket, make donations, and shop Amazon through the chowbooks link! The staff of this site has given us a ton! We need to give back!
Grapeseed oil is a great base for vinaigrettes combined with a strongly flavored nut oil (walnut, hazelnut, etc.) or if you really want to taste the flavor of another component, e.g., delicate herbs or a softly-flavored acid source like Meyer lemons, the flavors of which can be overwhelmed by a flavorful olive oil. The nutritional profile is similar to olive oil, i.e., heart-healthy.
Support chowhound.com and get great tips from ChowNews.
Grapeseed oil has a higher smoking point than other vegetable oils, so it is great for grilling and high temperature sauteing. I douse fish and meats with it before I put them on the charcoal grill.
In addition to a high smoke-point, grapeseed oil does not congeal when cold, so it is fine for marinades and dressings that will require refrigeration. I use it as a base for marinated artichokes, which I put up every spring, and with about 20 percent extra-virgin olive oil, the olive flavor comes through clearly because the grapeseed oil is so neutral.
As for cooking, I use it for sauteeing mushrooms at a high, high temperature, and it is just great. The result is pure mushroom flavor.
Grapeseed oil is perhaps the best oil in which to cook popcorn because of its extremely high smoking point, light viscosity and mild (but not non-existent) flavor. (Yes, there are those of us who cook popcorn the old fashioned way. I generally cannot abide microwave popcorn; it's not the same.) I add a half tablespoon of butter to the oil just as the popcorn begins to pop, and the grapeseed oil marries so perfectly with it that the resulting popcorn has the gentlest buttery flavor. Perfect!