Olive oil is my standard oil. I use extra-virgin olive oil (first cold-pressed oil) when the taste really matters, as it does in dishes that are not cooked or are only slightly heated. For instance, I use my best extra-virgin olive oil (often an AOC oil from the South of France — I love the oils made from olives harvested in Nyons) to dress greens and to drizzle over finished dishes. But in dishes in which I know that the other ingredients would overpower the lovely flavor of the oil, I’ll use a less expensive extra-virgin oil or an olive oil that is not extra-virgin. (Some extra-virgin oils, like Colavita, which is a fine oil and used by many chefs in America, are less expensive but more flavorful than some plain olive oils.) For high-heat cooking, I use grapeseed, canola, or peanut oil (I often fry with peanut oil). And I always have a variety of nut oils in the refrigerator (or the wine cellar — nut oils, like the nuts they are made from, can turn rancid and should be kept in a cold, dark place) for making vinaigrettes, drizzling over vegetables raw and cooked, finishing soups, or adding pizzazz to almost anything steamed. My favorite nut oils and the ones I use most often are walnut, hazelnut, and pistachio, although I also have almond oil in the refrigerator too.

Dorie Greenspan

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