Stop Overheating Your Oil!
I often see both home and professional cooks use oil that is way too hot to start the cooking process. It usually goes like this: Someone will take the pan, put it on the burner, turn it on to high, and add some oil. More often than not, it's an olive oil that should be used in something other than this method. Using hot oil to start the cooking process can have some drawbacks, depending on the food type and the cooking method used. Here are a few potential disadvantages. Burnt flavors: If the oil is too hot, it can burn delicate ingredients such as garlic, herbs, and spices, leading to a bitter taste and unpleasant odor. Using overheated oil can cause uneven cooking, by adding food to hot oil can result in uneven cooking, with some parts of the food overcooked while other areas remain undercooked. It can also increase oil absorption because when food is added to hot oil, it can cause the food to absorb more oil than necessary, resulting in greasy, heavy dishes that are high in caloric value and less healthy. This method can increase cooking times because when food is added to hot oil, it can take longer to cook than when starting with cold oil, especially if the oil is too hot and causes the food to be browned too quickly on the outside.
Using cold oil to start the cooking process can provide several benefits, depending on the ingredients and the cooking method used. Here are a few potential advantages. Using the cold oil method can improve flavor: Starting with cold oil can help to preserve the flavor and aroma of delicate ingredients such as herbs, spices, and garlic, which can quickly burn and become bitter when added to hot oil. Starting with cold oil can create a better texture: crisping and evenly browning the exterior of foods like fried chicken or battered fish. By starting with cold oil, the food has more time to cook through before the exterior becomes too dark.
As stated above, this can reduce oil absorption. Some may say this is a safer cooking method, but who are we kidding? We're using fire knives here, people.
It is worth noting that not all cooking methods require cold oil. For example, when stir-frying, it's often best to start with hot oil to quickly cook the ingredients and prevent sticking. However, starting with cold oil can provide significant benefits for many other dishes. To avoid these drawbacks, it's essential to carefully monitor the temperature of the oil and adjust the heat as needed throughout the cooking process. Additionally, some cooking methods may require starting with hot oil, so following the recipe's instructions and using the appropriate cooking technique for the dish at hand is essential.