Oil is an essential kitchen staple, but the prevalence of olive and vegetable varieties belie a diverse world of offerings. Specialty foods are now changing this, as evidenced at this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show, with distinctive products that impart nuanced and bold flavors to prepared foods.
The majority of oils are pressed or extracted from seeds, nuts, or the kernels of fruits. Because many less familiar oils aren’t mass-produced, they can be costly. They are best used as a garnish to drizzle on soups or grilled fish, in vinaigrettes or other sauces, and as a seasoning where the oil’s flavor can be absorbed into porous ingredients like legumes or pasta. Many specialty oils are best with no- or low-heat preparations.
Specialty oils have the ability to transform simple prepared foods into culinary masterpieces. These three recipes demonstrate the depth of some new introductions—pistachio oil, almond kernel oil, and pumpkin seed oil—each of which completes a dish in its own unique way.
- Creamy Pumpkin-Coconut Soup with Spiced Oil Drizzle
- Smoked Duck Salad with Blue Cheese, Dried Cranberries, Sugar Snap Peas, and Pistachios
- Warm Black Lentil Salad with Almonds, Apricots, and Celeriac
Other Specialty Oils Spotted at the Fancy Food Show
- Bell Plantation Roasted Peanut Oil: an extra-virgin, unfiltered roasted peanut oil that’s cold-pressed and full of flavor. The antithesis of a neutral cooking oil, it is delicious when drizzled on salads and pastas, plus it can be used for sauteing and stir-frying.
- Pödör Tiger Nut Oil: a cold-pressed, golden brown oil with a pleasingly intense nutty flavor. It has been known since early Egyptians cultures and can be used for high-heat cooking.
- SoFregít “Dilliscious” Coconut Oil and Thai Coconut Oil: these offerings created a niche category for SoFregit’s coconut oil bases infused with seasonings that are easily added to stir-fry dishes and more for convenience and flavor.