A Guide to Finishing Oil
What it is and how to use it.
At west~bourne, we love a regeneratively- and generously-stocked pantry, and finishing oils can serve as the perfect companion for rounding out your kitchen. Finishing oils, also known as culinary oils, are used–you guessed it–just before serving to enhance flavor, color, texture, and nutrients. When used correctly, they can instantly make your ingredients and dish shine.
Unlike everyday olive oil, grapeseed oil or safflower oil that are used for high-heat cooking, sauteing, baking, or grilling, finishing oils are best used to drizzle over crunchy green salads, roasted vegetables, yogurts, and baked goods. In fact, finishing oils should be heated minimally or not at all because they have a lower smoke point than cooking oils, which means they lose their flavor when cooked.
Of course, not all finishing oils are created equal; some oils are super flavorful and even surprising on the palette while others add an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Here’s a breakdown on how to best use them and reap the benefits:
A Little Drizzle Goes a Long Way: Transforming Your Ingredients
While cooking oils are generally-neutral flavored–making them able to withstand heat and have greater versatility when cooking–finishing oils can have a range of (robust) flavors. Its power lies in its ability to transform seemingly simple ingredients into a standout dish. Think:avocado oil known for its buttery, grassy flavor, ideal for drizzling over everything from salads to baked goods or an aromatic truffle oil that adds an earthy flavor to dishes like pasta or scrambled eggs.
Our Favorite DIY Recipe
- Head to the farmers’ market for a seasonal haul. In summer, look for a gorgeous piece of sourdough, a few heirloom tomatoes, and fresh herbs. In fall, look for varieties of squash and basil.
- Cut and prepare vegetables and herbs to your liking. Arrange on a plate with vegetables on the bottom and herbs on the top.
- Drizzle a small amount of high-quality finishing oil of your choice and a flaky sea salt.
- Watch how quickly your dish transforms! The beauty with finishing oil is a little bit goes a long way.
The Ultimate Finishing Oil: Avocado Oil
Want to reap the health benefits of finishing oil? Enter avocado oil–generally considered one of the healthiest oils–which is high in monounsaturated fats and naturally rich in nutrients, including vitamin E, potassium, and folate. Due to its mild, buttery flavor, avocado oil can be used with both savory and sweet dishes without overpowering them, making it the perfect companion to serve both as a dip alongside focaccia and drizzle over a vanilla ice-cream. Not to mention, it has a beautiful, vibrant green color that can add a pop to your dish presentation.