Know your oils
A guide to the various cooking oils in your kitchen.
Extra virgin olive oil, created by pressing olives, has a low smoke point. Translation: It can quickly lose its flavor if heated. (Tribune file photo / March 4, 2008)
Extra virgin olive oil: This fragile oil, created by pressing olives, has a low smoke point. Translation: It can quickly lose its flavor if heated. Felder suggested drizzling extra virgin olive oil over chicken or fish after they're cooked as a garnish.
Olive oil: More filtered, less expensive than extra virgin olive oil, this is perfect for sautéing or using in salad dressings, said Chef Michael Howe, owner of Village Gourmet in Illinois and instructor of the Illinois Institute of Art.
Canola oil: A neutral flavor and a high smoke point make this oil perfect for frying and baking, Howe said. Bonus: It has less saturated fat than any other oil.
Flaxseed oil: This has the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, but it's a touchy oil, said Chef Shelley Young, founder of the Chopping Block, a Chicago-area cooking school. Cooking flaxseed oil destroys its health benefits, so it's best to use as a salad dressing.
Vegetable and corn oils: These tend to be the least expensive, so they're perfect for deep frying. They have high smoke points but very neutral flavors.