If you're a foodie, you're probably familiar with finishing oil. It's a type of oil used at the end of the cooking process to enhance the flavor and texture of a dish.
But they aren't anything new. Just like humans have been producing EVOO for millennia, we've been drizzling fancy fats on top of our food for centuries.
And this isn't just limited to Italian or Mediterranean food, cooks have been using them in different cuisines and cultures throughout history. And that's what makes them so fun, they can be used on a wide variety of dishes, including salads, soups, and roasted vegetables!
In this article, we dive deeper into finishing oil, what it is, and how it can be used to take your cooking to the next level.
What is Finishing Oil
Finishing oil is a high-quality oil that is drizzled on top of a dish right before serving in order to round out and complete the flavor profiles. It also adds texture and depth to the dish.
It's typically made from high-quality ingredients, such as genuine extra-virgin olive oil or toasted sesame oil. The type of product changes depending on the cuisine and personal preference of the cook.
There are many types available on the market, each with its own unique flavor and texture. Here are some of the most popular options:
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil is one of the most popular choices. With over 2,000 cultivars of olives there are hundreds of options to choose from.
It can have many different flavors including but not limited to arugula, tomato leaf, green pepper, vanilla, plum, or tropical fruit. It usually has pepperiness or bitterness and feels well balanced in the mouth.
EVOO is perfect for drizzling over salads, roasted vegetables, grilled meats, or even ice cream!
Related: How to Do an OO Tasting
Toasted sesame oil has a nutty, smoky flavor and a rich, dark color. It is often used in Asian cooking, particularly in stir-fries, noodle dishes, and fresh salads.
Walnut oil has a rich, nutty flavor and is high in omega-3 fatty acids. It is perfect for drizzling over roasted vegetables or adding to dressings.
Pistachio oil has a rich, nutty flavor and a vibrant green color. It is perfect for adding to salads or drizzling over grilled meats.
How to Use Finishing Oil
It's typically used at or towards the end of the cooking process, however, it depends on the type of dish and cuisine.
Sometimes the cook will drizzle the product directly to the pot or bowl, mix all of the ingredients together one last time, to ensure the flavors distribute evenly, and then plate and serve the food immediately. This is works really well for cold foods like salad or pasta salad.
Alternatively, they might plate the food first and then immediately drizzle it with a premium product such as EVOO. This is how dished like as pasta and pizza are finished in restaurants. It also adds beautiful color and design.
How to Choose the Right One
The first thing to do is sort out the type of food you want to make. For example, if you plan on making a Japanese inspired noodle dish then it probably makes sense to reach for the sesame oil.
This also depends on what you want out of the product. Are you only looking for a boost in flavor or texture, or do you want to add lots of health benefits?
Using finishing oil in your cooking can provide several benefits, including:
- Enhances flavor: Finishing oil can add depth and complexity to the flavor of a dish. It can also help to balance out the flavors of a dish, making it more enjoyable to eat.
- Adds texture: It adds texture to a dish, making it more silky, creamy, or crunchy, depending on the type.
- Boosts nutrients: Products like EVOO are very rich in antioxidants and have incredible health benefits. By adding drizzle it on top of your food you can reap all the benefits.
Are Finishing Oils Limited to Extra Virgin?
No, many different cuisines use them. For example in many Asian dishes chefs often finish a dish with sesame oil.
Can You Use More Than One?
Absolutely! However, it might be best to start off with just one. Then you can experiment more with time.
Also, it's important to know that these products have a shelf life and if you're making the investment in a high quality product you should use it within the recommended time frame and best by date.
Learn more about proper storage practices here.
Do I Have to Spend a Lot of Money?
To be honest, high-quality products are often, but not always going to cost a bit more. This is because it takes more time and energy to produce them.
Start with just one or two products and build out from there. You don't need a huge investment to start experimenting.
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