Cooking with Phil - Tips, Techniques and Knowledge

Canola Oil or Olive Oil

Phil Strasser - Sunday, July 06, 2014

What oils to use when you cook?

You want to cook like a professional in your own home. Of course there is a lot of skill and knowledge needed but an important piece of knowledge is to know and understand which oils to use to cook with.

As a creature of habit I have always used Canola oil. By all means, vegetable oil is also fine to cook with.
So why use these oils to cook with – such as pan frying as opposed to using olive oil when olive oils is considered so healthy?

For this blog I do not want to get too scientific, I just want to draw on my own experience with both oils and share them with you:

Olive oil is a flavourful oil and is produced by the pressing of the olives to extract the oils. It has a low smoke point. This means that it is difficult to pan fry with it because it simply doesn’t last the distance. The oil burns too quickly from the high heat. Being as flavourful as it is, I feel that it may over empower the food that I am pan frying.  It is for this main reason that I personally do not cook with it. I may choose to use it to make a salad dressing.

Canola oil is the pressing of the seeds from the rapeseed plant. It is flavourless and has a high smoke point. Because it is flavourless and has a high smoke point it is, to me, perfect for pan frying with.

From an economical point of view and having cooked on a commercial level, canola oil is available in 20 L oil drums (if you want to go big!!), but of course it is available in as little as 1L, 2L, or 4L bottles. Also on this point, it is much cheaper than olive oil.