Monday, June 10, 2013

"When It Comes to Fat, How Hot is Too Hot?"


5 YEARS OLD AND ALL TOO RELEVANT.  

THIS IS MY FIRST RESOURCE HIGHLIGHT BROUGHT TO YOU BY MARK'S DAILY APPLE 


REDACTED FROM THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE: MARKSDAILYAPPLE.COM



You've just gotten lamb bacon from your local farmer's market and you're chomping at the bit to fry those babies up and scarf them down like a wild animal.  But in cooking them - do you have to be cognizant of the fat you use?  And more so, do you need to worry how hot your pan gets?  The short answer, unfortunately, is yes.  

"For some (the more delicate) even moderate heating will ruin the oil, darken and scorch it, incite a cloud of putrid smoke and even a flash of flames in your unsuspecting pan. (No one saw that, right?) Others are more robust, even outright brawny and can weather the higher heats.

Why is rancid oil bad (aside from the fact that you just want to hurl hearing the words in your head)? Oil, when it’s overheated, literally deteriorates chemically. The rate of the breakdown (and total formation of toxic compounds) is dependent on the type of oil and temperature. Initially, the oil’s decomposition results in the creation of hydroperoxids and then increasing levels of aldehydes. (Aldehydes are toxic compounds and recognized “markers of oxidative stress in cells” and are known contributors to “degenerative illnesses.” 
So, how do I know what is best for each oil? I can still cook with oil, can’t I? Yes, you have a number of choices for various cooking activities, but don’t just pick any oil. 
If an oil is mostly saturated, it’s pretty stable. If it’s mostly mono-saturated, it’s pretty stable. If it’s polyunsaturated, it’s anybody’s game. More seriously, oils that contain mostly polyunsaturated fats will generally be less stable, but there’s significant variation.
In order to judge just how hearty an oil is, how well it can take the heat, we look at its “smoke point,” the point of heating (temperature) at which an oil begins to smoke. There’s some minor haggling about the exact temps, but the big picture of these estimates holds.
Think of it this way: saturated fats (e.g. palm oil, coconut oil) are ideal players for cooking at higher temps. The heartier unsaturated fats like olive oil can also stand up to (medium to high) heat but you’ll lose delicate flavors. Other “low” heat oils (e.g. nut oils) are best left out of cooking all together. They fulfill their life’s quest by offering rich flavor to finished dishes."

Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/oil-fat-overheat-smoking-point/#ixzz2Vqu9FBmM

Moral to the story?  Fry the lamb bacon in it's own damn fat and don't burn it.  Kapeesh?  But if you do decide to bottle up the remaining fat from the pan to use in your future lamb shank recipe, bear in mind that the smoking point is lowered the second time it gets heated.
Thanks, Mark, for the great insight as always.  
I hope you found my first highlight helpful.  Have a happy Monday!

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