Fats Are Back | The Bay Area Clamors for Healthy Fats

Butters and flavored oils emerge as 2015 trends

If you’ve seen the movie “Julie and Julia,” you’ve seen Julia Child’s love affair with butter. Perhaps that is really the French culinary style. At the end of the movie, Julie pays homage to the iconic Child by placing a stick of butter by her portrait in her historic home in Massachusetts. Let’s face it, butter just tastes good and adds tremendous flavor. But, in the recent past, Americans decided that all fat, including butter, equated to unhealthy eating. In 2015, that’s just not the case anymore.

In fact, many chefs are intentionally calling attention to it, flavored butters in particular, on their menus. Some culinary students attend a butter tasting as a means to train their palates to discern the nuances of a variety of butter flavors.

Olive oil, stand aside

Mediterranean chefs have long known the value of olive oil. It’s been their constant in the kitchen. But new oil options are emerging as Americans redefine just what a healthy fat is. Oils made with nuts, seeds, and vegetables represent a new 2015 trend. You may see oils made from avocado, mustard, pumpkin seeds, and coconut, all promising to delight your palate with new flavor sensations.

Admittedly, some of these oils are not new at all. But with the shift in the United States from low-fat diets to healthy-fact diets, these oils face a renaissance. You may see these oils promoted on restaurant and catering menus. It won’t stop there, though. Experts are predicting recipes for the home cook will see these oils popping up in recipes.

Given the new market, some shops in the Bay Area are poised to cater to patrons who want to try a variety of new flavored oils. These could include:

  • White truffle oil—A pungent oil made from white truffles, try this with pasta, rice, risotto, potato, and egg dishes. A little will go a long way.
  • Black truffle oil—An earthy oil made from black truffles, long hailed as a culinary gem, use for flavoring pasta, rice, and potato dishes.
  • Roasted French walnut oil—Full of Omega-3 and antioxidants, this delicate oil works well on salads and for baking. It also works well for sautéing chicken cutlets.
  • Grapeseed oil—Pressed from seeds of a variety of grapes, this light-tasting oil is great for stir-fries, sautés, deep-fries. Try it too in salad dressings and your own mayonnaise.
  • Toasted sesame seed oil—The roasting process brings out a sesame flavor that enhances any Asian dish that requires sesame oil.
  • Almond oil—A good nutritional option. Just use the same way you would olive oil.
  • Pumpkin seed oil—A finishing oil that works well in soups and with vegetables.