Boost Flavour with Heart-Healthy Flavoured Fats
At Seafood Market, we like to stay on top of the latest food trends. A 2021 trend for home chefs we are whole-heartedly adopting is using alternative oils to add good fat and fantastic flavour to seafood. Alternative oils include everything from infused olive oils to nut or seed oils like sesame seeds, walnut, hemp and avocado.
Healthy fats, like oils, help us absorb fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamins A, D, E and K), support the immune system and protect the heart. It is important to note that all fats, however, are not created equal. We’re huge fans of the Mediterranean diet, which incorporates unsaturated fats, as well as vegetables, fruit, whole grains and lean proteins like seafood.
Studies show this way of eating helps support a healthy heart, brain and eyes, protect against chronic diseases, promote a strong immune system and contribute to a longer life. Some of these healthy unsaturated fats include omega-3 fatty acids, like EPA and DHA. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and oysters are particularly rich in polyunsaturated omega-3s. Pairing seafood with alternative oils can supercharge the taste and health of meals.
Here are a few oils that we think work especially well with seafood.
1. Extra virgin olive oil is the Seafoodie’s gold standard. Its taste ranges from slightly bitter to fruity. Stock your pantry with olive oil infused with flavours such as chili, basil, garlic or rosemary. For high-heat cooking, such as roasted chili-lime cod, be sure to choose a lighter, refined olive oil.
2. Avocado oil is just as luscious as the fruit it’s derived from. And, it has a fresh, clean flavour that plays nicely with just about any seafood dish. With one of the highest smoke points of any oil, it’s an excellent choice for grilled or pan-seared fish.
3. Grapeseed oil is neutral! Since it doesn’t taste like much, it pairs with just about anything you can dish out. And it can really take the heat, so consider it for all of your seafood needs.
4. Peanut oil has a mild nutty flavour and a higher smoke point than olive oil. It’s the traditional go-to for deep frying because it can handle the higher cooking temps that keep food moist inside and crispy outside. Try it in a shrimp stir-fry.
5. Sesame oil has a slightly sweet, nutty taste that’s even more pronounced in the darker, toasted version. Its high smoke point makes it ideal for searing scallops. Use in any Asian-inspired recipe, or whenever you want to balance bolder flavours.
6. Walnut oil has a distinctive, nutty flavour that complements seafood nicely, particularly if your dish has walnuts in it. Try drizzling it over walnut-crusted salmon or misting it on grilled fish just before serving. Since walnut oil becomes bitter when heated, it’s best left uncooked.