Trendwatch: the new cooking oils

What are the savviest cooks using to fry, drizzle and dress? Rosie Ramsden rounds up the smart set

Trendwatch: the new cooking oils

Regional extra-virgin olive oil

This is an extra-virgin olive oil with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status. It should be cold-pressed and preferably from a single estate – like a good wine. For real food finesse, use with recipes from the same region. A rich, peppery Tuscan olive oil works well with a tagliata steak. For salads or grilled seafood, try a gentle, fruity Provençal oil.

Extra-virgin cold-pressed rapeseed oil

Beautiful yellow rape fields are now a common sight in the UK, and the seeds are used to make standard vegetable oil, as well as this delicate, purer version, now the go-to choice for many UK chefs. The best stuff, such as Hillfarm from Suffolk, has a nutty, asparagus-like flavour. Use it as you would extra-virgin olive oil, for dressings, drizzling, gentle frying or mayo.

Virgin coconut oil

With its mild nutty flavour and hint of the tropics, coconut oil is excellent used for frying fish in Caribbean, African or Asian recipes, or for baking (it’s great in carrot cakes). Though coconut oil is high in saturated fat, there’s evidence to suggest it’s ‘good’ sat fat, which can help cholesterol levels. As with all fats, use in moderation and stick to the virgin oil, which is unrefined.

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