The farm to table movement is here to stay. I think it’s great that people are paying attention to where their food comes from and going out of their way to get fresh and local ingredients. But why stop with just the farm and the table? The food has to be moved from the farm to the table, and I think it is important to include the transportation into the mix. Which is why I have a few tips on cooking with motor oil.
Much like olive oil, certain motor oils are better for cooking, while others are better for things like salad dressings.
Frying with motor oil is amazing. It’s designed to heat well in an engine, and it heats just as well in a Dutch oven. It’s great for frying things like calamari that need to cook quickly at a high temperature, and it gives the calamari a nice golden color almost instantly. I prefer to use full synthetic oil for frying and recommend SAE 0W 40.
For salad dressings, the flavor of the motor oil is front and center, so I prefer a synthetic blend. It’s the best of both worlds! The brightness and acidity from the synthetic motor oil and the earthy and herbaceous tones from the regular motor oil balance well with almost any mix of greens. I recommend a SAE 5W 30 not only for its viscosity, but because it blends very well with a light Champagne vinegar.
A finishing motor oil can elevate a dish like nothing else. I highly recommend used motor oil for this purpose. While you cannot control the percentage of synthetic vs. regular in a used blend, most auto shops and garages have an abundance waiting to be recycled and will usually sell you a few ounces at a reasonable price (but not for long once this trend becomes popular). Used motor oil usually has a rich, toasted nut flavor that works just as well as a soup garnish as it does anchoring a sea scallop and fennel crudo.
The small batch, boutique motor oils have been increasing in popularity and variety. And while Texas refined oils have made a big splash in the last few years, the most exciting news to me is the Alaska raw oils that have made their way onto the scene. Take some time to experiment to find which flavor profiles and oils work best for you and your favorite recipes, then share your tips with us in the comments below!
Note: In no way do we condone the consumption of motor oil. Happy April Fools’ Day, though!
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