Chef secrets: Oils 101

With Personal Chef Bill Collins

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – Does your food need an oil change? From olive to grapeseed, canola to sesame, which oil is the best option for what you’re making? Personal Chef Bill Collins from shared his tips on oils as well as a recipe for lemon chicken!

Oils 101

Not all olive oils are as they seem: some might say “prepared in Italy,” but are really from other countries, but just assembled in Italy.
For sautéing, over a medium-ish heat, olive oil is great. But don’t use a REALLY nice, expensive olive oil: it’s flavor properties will be lost in heat.
For higher temperature cooking, like stir frying and deep frying, use other oils, like canola, peanut,, etc. They can stand up to the heat.
If the oil gets too hot, it hits its “smoke point,” which means it can get bit smoky, start to break down, and can have an adverse effect on the flavor and look of the food.

Some olive oil uses:
Salads (just oil and vinny on top)

Grapeseed oil:
Higher flashpoint than olive oil, but has a milder flavor and lighter “mouth feel” than olive oil.
For instance, with a citrus vinaigrette, it doesn’t overwhelm the citrus flavor like olive or canola oil does

Lemon Chicken

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, or 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup flour (optional)
1/4 cup chicken stock
juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon capers (optional)
½ can artichokes (optional), packed in water, not marinated, drained
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

This first step is optional. If you skip this step, that’s fine. Add salt and pepper to the flour. Dredge the chicken in the flour. Save any extra flour.
In the skillet, over a medium heat, add the olive oil, and let it get hot. Then add the chicken breasts. Sauté until browned on both sides. The chicken won’t be cooked through. That’s fine. Remove from pan.
Increase the heat to high. Wait a moment, until the pan is quite hot. Add a bit of the chicken stock. With a wooden spoon, scrape up the “stuck bits” in the pan. Add the remaining chicken stock, lemon juice, capers and artichokes. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1-2 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan, and simmer covered, for 10 more minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan.
Check the flavor of the sauce. If it needs more salt, pepper, or lemon juice, add it now. Simmer for 1-2 more minutes.
Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

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