suggestions for flavorful/infused oils
i've experimented with various oils (e.g, toasted peanut, EVOO from Greece & Cali, coconut, canola, flax, and fish) for dressing salads, cooked veggies, and meats but i'd like to experiment a bit more. what are some flavorful oils to try?
can you taste a difference in walnut oil? how about pumpkin and macademia nut? since i want to add unique flavors, i'm also open to infused olive oils. O&co. has a few types but has anyone tried these?
I tried to make chili oil, but realized rather late that I had used the wrong kind of chili..
d-uh. I also realized that you absolutely have to heat the oil to infuse. d-uh again.
I've tasted very bland walnut oils (Spectrum - practically flavorless) and very aromatic ones. They are fantastic for salad dressings, with sherry vinegar or something fruity.
Pumpkin seed oil is very intensely flavored, so I would use it only to drizzle over food -- roasted asparagus, or topping off a carrot or pumpkin soup.
I use toasted peanut for stir-frys and other Asian cooking. It adds that wonderful peanut flavor, and has a pretty high smoking point.
As for infused oils: I brought back lobster oil and porcini oil from Montreal, and find them to be disappointingly subtle....
I make my own infused oil. I heat good EVOO in a heavy pan over very low heat, to which I add- thinly sliced garlic, assorted dry herbs (oregano, marjorum, basil, thyme, etc) a little crushed red pepper falkes. Let it steep until the garlic is soft and has scented the oil, then remove the garlic with a fork. I use this oil for white pizza W/ greens and goat cheese, herbed/ parmesan croutons, finishing sauce on fresh roasted red and yellow peppers or grilled veggies. You get the idea.
Walnut Oil (and the other nut oils I'd imagine) does have a very distinctive nutty taste; you can immediately identify what it is. Walnut oil in particular has that same sorta bitter note to it that the walnuts themselves have. (I believe it's tannins) I think that makes it particularly good to pair with things that could be sticky sweet...raspberry for example.
I love walnut or hazelnut oil for some salads - usually one with arugula, nuts and goat cheese. A good flax oil also has that lovely nuttiness.
All these oils are very prone to getting rancid quicker than other oils, so buy what you're going to use in a couple weeks/months and store them in the fridge.