Cooking oils

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Always, Always Starting with Olive Oil
Home cooks tend to rely on pricey olive oil for sautéing foods but, says chef Robert Irvine, who has appeared on Restaurant: Impossible, professionals often do the bulk of their cooking with cheaper oils, such as canola, grapeseed or safflower, and save high-end olive oil for finishing dishes. This frugal move (a 16-ounce bottle of olive oil starts around $8 and can cost much more, while 48 ounces of canola oil is about $3) can actually make your food taste better, too. That's because canola and other nonolive oils have a higher smoke point, so you can get the pan and the oil very hot, which helps give whatever you're cooking—such as a chicken breast or a fish fillet—a browned crust, without it absorbing tons of oil. Save olive oil for salad dressings and for drizzling over food just before serving, to give it a little extra flavor.