I’ve had oil on my mind lately because of the screaming front page news. I’m worried about all of the wildlife that is being affected by the spill, not to mention the Gulf shrimp and oysters and fish and other things many of us love to eat.
To take my mind off such depressing things, I’m redirecting it to a different kind of oil: olive oil. I’ve been thinking about olive oil lately, too, because of a cooking technique I keep seeing in magazines and on Web sites. I’m not sure if it’s a new technique or if it is an old method that has lately become the “in thing,” but everybody is talking about poaching fish and shrimp in olive oil now. There was an article about this in the latest regular issue of Fine Cooking magazine.
Poaching fish in olive oil (which can be infused with a variety of seasonings) supposedly results in a silky, delicious texture. You heat the oil to a low temperature (120 to 200) and submerge the fish to cook it. But here’s what bothers me about the technique: most recipes I’ve seen call for at least 4 cups of olive oil, and only Fine Cooking’s article acknowledges the fact that several cups of olive oil is kind of an expensive thing to use just once.
They suggest using a lower quality olive oil than you would use for drizzling or making dressings, and they say you should save the oil when you are finished with it and use it up to three times to cook fish. I guess it’s like the peanut oil you use to fry a turkey – it’s expensive and requires a lot, so you need to funnel it back into the original containers and use it on several turkeys before finally disposing of it.
Even so, I’m reluctant to use that much olive oil just to cook a couple of pieces of fish. Am I the only one who feels this way? I’d like to know whether anyone has tried this cooking method. If so, is it worth the expense? And does anyone have a lead on places where you can get good prices on olive oil?