22 Nov

Olive oil 101 with Michael Chiarello

By Stacey Delo, MarketWatch

When cooking at home, chef Michael Chiarello enjoys wild-fennel olive oil drizzled over roasted quail. He makes the fennel oil from scratch, warming a cup of olive oil with a quarter cup of fennel, then straining the mixture through a coffee filter.

Mr. Chiarello is the host of the Food Network show “Easy Entertaining” and owner of NapaStyle, a catalog and store.

Mr. Chiarello opts for intense oils in colder months, such as green cold-press olive oils from Tuscany or California. He stocks his cabinet with five varieties of olive oil, some for cooking and others for finishing: Ligurian, Tuscan, filtered, unfiltered and flavored. Unfiltered oil, which retains pieces of the olive, giving it a cloudy look, is not meant for cooking, he says, because the olive pieces can burn.

While he generally prefers olive oil, Mr. Chiarello says sesame-seed oil has an unmistakable flavor that makes a good stir fry a great one. He also likes peanut oil for its flavor, and says grapeseed oil is good for frying at fairly high temperatures. He also occasionally turns to canola oil for frying. End of Story

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