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Jul 28, 2009

Canola Oil has a lot going for it

A field of bright-yellow canola flowers

One of my favorite culinary websites is sponsored by the Culinary Instute of America. It’s loaded with recipes, videos, food facts, info about culinary trends, and a lot more. CIA also tackles many subjects in-depth.

I recently delved into the site’s massive info-bank related to Canola Oil. I know, I know—it sounds dull as dishwater, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not.

Here are some tidbits about oils in general and canola oil in particular, followed by a CIA recipe that uses canola oil: Parsnip Vichyssoise With Apple Horseradish Oil & Roasted Shitake Chips:
  • Everyone needs a little fat in their diet. Fats and oils, such as canola, play an essential role in human nutrition. Fat is part of every cell in the body and is a valuable source of energy. It aids in the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K as well as beta-carotene and slows digestion so that you feel full for a longer period.
  • Not all fats are created equally. Canola oil contains the lowest level of saturated fat of any common culinary oil. It is high in monounsaturated fat (shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels), and has moderate levels of essential polyunsaturated fats. Canola oil is a good source of plant-based omega-3 fat and vitamin E. Like all vegetable oils, canola oil is cholesterol-free.
  • Canola oil is made from canola seed. Canola oil is pressed from tiny canola seeds produced by beautiful yellow flowering plants of the botanical Brassica family, whose members include cabbages and cauliflower.
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Parsnip Vichyssoise
With Apple Horseradish Oil & Roasted Shitake Chips

Serves 6 as a First Course
Thanks to Chef Almir and the CIA for this recipe

INGREDIENTS:

For the Roasted Shitake Chips:

¼ cup Shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 Tb. Canola oil

For the Parsnip Vichyssoise:

½ cup Onion, chopped
½ cup Celery, chopped
1.5 pounds Parsnips, peeled, sliced ¼ inch thick
2 Tb. Garlic, minced
6 Leeks, whites only, chopped
1 cup White wine
½ pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cut 1 inch
2 quarts Chicken stock or water
Salt and pepper to taste
1+ cup Heavy cream
Lemon juice as needed

For the Apple Horseradish Oil:

½ cup Braeburn apple, finely julienned
1 tsp. Horseradish, freshly grated
½ cup Canola oil
Salt to taste
1 Tb. Chives, thinly sliced

METHOD:
  • For the Roasted Shiitake Chips: Toss the shiitake mushrooms with 1 Tbsp. of canola oil. Place in a single layer on a Silpat mat. Cover with a piece of parchment paper and another sheet pan. Bake in a 250°F oven until golden brown and crisp, approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Set aside for garnish.
  • For the Parsnip Vichyssoise: In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat 3 tablespoons of canola oil. Add the onions, celery, parsnips and garlic and sweat the vegetables on a low flame, covered, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the leeks and cook another 5 minutes. Pour in the wine and cook until dry. Add the potatoes and cover with chicken stock or water. Salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes. When the vegetables are tender, blend until smooth using an immersion blender. Stir in the heavy cream and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  • For the Apple Horseradish Oil: Combine the apple, horseradish, and canola oil. Season with salt.
  • To serve: Top each hot bowl of soup with a little bit of the apple mixture, lean a shiitake chip on top, and sprinkle with chives.

MORE INFO:

Watch Chef Almir prepare this recipe.
Watch "Matters of the Heart," a video that shows how using canola can be heart-healthy.
Find more recipes using canola oil
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