When it comes to cooking a meal, often the main ingredients that get all the attention are the meats and base. However, the oil you use can play an important part in creating the perfect flavor or texture for your paella. Even if you have experience cooking paella, you may want to consider switching it up every now and then for a unique twist on the traditional paella. Here are Machika, we are going to go over some of the best oils you should be using for your paellas.
When deciding on oils for paella, there is the obvious choice- extra virgin olive oil, but what about other types of cheaper oil like peanut oil or vegetable oil? Well, for the most part, you will want to avoid vegetable oil and peanut oil for the simple reason that they have too strong of a flavor that many people find unappealing in paella. While they taste great in many other recipes, the flavor tends to clash with traditional recipes like seafood paella. The last thing you want with you clams if a hint of hot peanut oil. Vegetable oil may be usable, but also contains a strong flavor that those used to extra virgin olive oil may find unappetizing. Instead, it’s best to stick to the cooking oils that are known to be great in paella. The top 3 best cooking oils for making paella are:
- Extra virgin olive oil- including infused oils
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The safe choice, extra virgin olive oil is the default option when cooking paella. In Europe and throughout most of the world, extra virgin olive oil is just the oil that has always been used. It has a long culinary history that spans hundreds of years. The taste of extra virgin olive oil can be an acquired one in areas where it is not a commonly used cooking oil. In many places like South East Asia, other oils are more common in cooking. If you are just curious about which oil you should start off with when learning to cook paella, then extra virgin is the way to go. You can even add additional flavor to your dish by using a bit of infused olive oil along with your extra virgin.
Infused Olive Oils
Infused olive oils are exactly what they sound like- olive oil that is infused with different flavors to add taste natural to whatever is cooked with it. For example, you could get red chili pepper infused oil to cook paella with. What this will do is add some heat and spice to your recipe without you having to deal with hot pepper or chili powders. Infused chili pepper oils allow for the heat to more evenly spread out through the dish as whatever touches the oil takes on the flavor. There are many different types of infused olive oils besides chili pepper varieties. You can most likely find oils infused with herbs like rosemary and basil at your local grocery store or online.
A great, but expensive, oil to use for cooking paella is avocado oil. Unless you like cooking and trying different oils, chances are you are unaware they even make avocado cooking oil! After all, not many recipes call for the use of it over other types of oils. It is something that only in recent years has really grown in popularity. Avocado oil has a high smoke point and is full of healthy omega-9 fatty acid just like extra virgin olive oil. However, it is typically a bit more expensive than your average olive oils and comes in smaller amounts.
However, you still may want to use it in your paella if you prefer it. Avocado oil has a very neutral taste, so it will not overpower other flavors in your paella recipe. Many people prefer using avocado cooking oil for the supposed benefits like reducing inflammation and lowering cholesterol.
A common type of oil you may see on your grocery store shelves is coconut oil. Unlike the other two on this list, it is arguably the least healthy. Coconut oil also has a much lower smoke point than something like avocado oil. It starts to smoke at 347 °F instead compared to 482 °F. However, it is still useful for cooking paella because it has a really neutral flavor. In fact, most people agree that once cooked, coconut oil has no flavor leftover whatsoever. This allows the full taste of your paella ingredients to come through. Some paella recipes even recommend the use of coconut oil because it is so fatty that it can create a really crispy socarrat (the crunchy layer of rice that develops when cooking paella).
Find Paella Recipes and Paella Pans at Machika Today!
You do not have to wait to get started making delicious paella with Machika. You can go online and order an authentic paella pan from Valencia, Spain today by clicking here. Likewise, you can also find simple and delicious recipes at our Machika Family Cookbook here. At Machika, we believe the kitchen is the heart of every home. Cooking healthy and delicious meals for yourself or your family can help you live a happier and healthier life!