Aside from making your kitchen smell like a buttery wonderland, clarifying butter removes the solid particles suspended in the butterfat. Ghee takes it a bit further by simmering out more of the water. The resulting liquid gold is useful for all kinds of kitchen projects, from curries and stir-fries to pastries and hollandaise sauce. Yum.
I keep two kinds of extra virgin olive oil in my kitchen: a small bottle of robust, peppery, somewhat expensive oil for finishing dishes and special salads, and a milder, everyday oil for when the flavor of the oil might be overwhelmed by other ingredients or isn't very important. Everyday olive oil, like everyday wine, is a kitchen staple and while I don't reach for the cheapest brand from the bottom shelf, I need to keep the price point fairly low.
Do you buy your olive oil in bulk? (It's not a bad idea; you can save a lot of money doing this.) If so, then consider investing in a stainless steel fusti, a traditional olive oil barrel designed to protect oil from heat, light, and other corrosive influences. This is one of the better deals I've found on these so far.
Includes dripless stainless steel tap, but the stand costs $20 extra.
Don't get me wrong: I love a good buttery scone or crumb-topped muffin as much as the next coffee shop addict. But as we settle back into a fall baking routine, sometimes it's nice to have the option of, well...something a bit healthier. In the most recent issue of Fine Cooking, Ellie Krieger makes the case for baking with olive oil.
A lot of olive oil passes through my kitchen. There are some phenomenal small producers putting out really beautiful, delicate oils these days and many of them land in my mailbox. One recent standout is Nudo, a smart little company making a punchy, buttery extra virgin oil using the first cold press method which yields the freshest oil possible. They have great looking packaging (makes a great gift) that also cuts down on the carbon footprint because it uses a tin instead of glass. The flavor is great and the price-tag isn't the usual break-the-bank heartbreak like many high-end olive oils.
Olive oil is best stored in an opaque bottle that can preserve it from light and heat. I also like to buy olive oil in larger, more economical quantities, and pour it into a smaller bottle as I need it. This one, shaped charmingly like the Tin Man's oil can, is perfect. A simple, classic, functional object for your countertop.
The idea of $38 olive oil may make some of you clutch your chest (or your wallet). Believe me, I feel the same whenever I look at this olive oil. But on the special occasions when I do splurge, it is so worth it. This is not the sort of olive oil you swirl into a frying pan indiscriminately. Its fresh, fruity, and spicy flavors come out in even the smallest tastes — with good bread, drizzled over a salad. A bottle of this last for months, making it not such a splurge after all.
Available from many specialty grocers and cheesemongers, as well as the source listed here.
When The Smoked Olive sent me some samples of their Sonoma smoked olive oil, I was both excited and dubious. On the one hand, it combined two of my favorite things: Olive oil and smoky flavor. On the other hand, was it just a gimmick? An odd combination of two things that didn't belong together?
To be honest, it never occurred to us until we read Melissa Clark's recent article in The New York Times touting its sweet nutty flavor and excellent cooking performance. According to her, coconut oil makes the best roasted sweet potato fries ever!