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Tom: What's the best oil to use for deep and shallow frying?
by Tom Fitzmorris,posted Jun 28 2014 8:55AM
Q: Hearing you extol the virtues of panneed pork, I wondered what kind of oil you use. I know that olive oil breaks down at high temperatures, and isn’t good for deep-frying. But what about the dish that uses about a half-inch of oil, as you do for pannee?
A: When I pan-fry anything in more than a film of oil, I use canola oil or peanut oil, favoring the former for panneed dishes and the latter for deeper frying. Both have a few characteristics that recommend them. First, they have fairly high smoking points, and don’t burn easily.
Second, the flavor is neutral (especially in the case of canola oil), and food fried in it is lighter–just what you want from a panneed dish. You could use olive oil, but just the regular kind, called “100 Percent Pure” on the label, but no claim to any kind of virginity. The things that make extra-virgin olive oil so good in salads, marinated vegetables and the like–the aromatcs–all burn away when the heat is too high.
A lot of chefs I know like cottonseed oil. But in recent years the inventor of cottonseed oil–Wesson–has begun mixing canola oil into it, which changes some of the qualities. And corn oil has its adherents. One I never buy is “vegetable oil”–a blend. You never know what you have there.