I don't use olive oil to heat at all, i only use it for salad dressings.
I either saute in grapeseed oil or coconut oil. But all the cooking shows do show heating up the oil first. I also refuse to use nonstick pans. i like stainless steel or my cast iron. I have always gotten little flecks of the nonstick coating in my food when i use those and i don't use metal on them.
Unless you have a commercial stovetop, it will be hard to get the oil to smoking point that quickly. As a couple of people mentioned below, it is also important to get the oil hot first, then add the onion. Also, I like my onion to be a little brown on the edges, I like the flavor of it when it has a little bit of caramelization on it.
4/9/13 10:12 P
make sure your pan is hot before you add the oil then add the onions immediately
4/6/13 6:39 A
When I saute onions (or any veggies for that matter), I use a minimum amount of oil (if I need a little fat on my plan). Otherwise, I use vegetable broth. I find I keep adding a little bit as it evaporates.
Fitness Minutes: (120)
4/4/13 7:06 P
BTW a tbsp of butter works just fine, and isn't more calories than olive oil. Of course it's not "healthy fat" like olive oil is, but a lot of other oils arent either.
4/4/13 6:54 P
Thanks everyone, I was using a non stick skillet but I had kept the heat pretty low because of worry about the smoke point of the olive oil. Will try with higher heat next time and maybe use a different oil, one with a higher smoke point.
Fitness Minutes: (120)
4/4/13 2:32 P
Yojulez beat me to it- LOL!
You Tube is a great place to learn cooking techniques!
4/4/13 1:22 P
I agree - I think your biggest problem is lack of heat. If you are using one onion (or less), 1T of oil should be plenty. What kind of pan are you using (nonstick, stainless, etc), and is your stove gas or electric? If electric, you need at least medium heat and you'll need to heat the pan and oil for a few minutes before adding the onion.
Fitness Minutes: (120)
4/4/13 12:09 P
Whenever I have a question about how to do something in the kitchen, I head to youtube. I'm a visual learner and there's videos on there for pretty much anything. The guys in this video are kind of dorky, but the instruction is good: www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJtn6ZVTDa8
They're using butter in the video, but olive oil works just fine. I've found that 1tbsp is enough, because like a PP said, once the onions get going they "sweat" and create more liquid. Also like a PP suggested, don't add the garlic at the same time as the onions since it cooks fast and will just burn.
And just a note, it's usually not a good idea to mix oil and water when cooking. They don't go together at all, and the water will just cause the oil to "spit" and possibly burn you and just makes a mess.
Edited by: YOJULEZ at: 4/4/2013 (12:10)
4/4/13 10:50 A
I agree with the PP, but also make sure that your onion is chopped pretty fine and keep stirring it around.
I've never tried sauteing with water before ... but I think your main problem is lack of heat. I always saute at medium high to high heat. Even if you want to cook it a little lower, you won't get anywhere if your pan doesn't get hot enough. You could start out at medium high and then lower to medium if you're worried about burning or the smoke point of the oil, but low heat just won't cut it.
With onions and garlic, I don't have much trouble with lack of oil - the onions will start sweating as they cook. You might want to wait before adding the garlic ... it doesn't need to cook as long as the onion and could burn if you put it in right away. Once the onions are pretty much there, add the garlic for 30 seconds to a minute.
4/3/13 4:24 P
Soooo..... now that I'm a "Spark People" I'm trying to cook more - my previous cooking experience is mostly heating a can of soup. Was making a recipe last night that starts with "saute diced onion and minced garlic in olive oil until translucent".
Used one T of olive oil over low heat, and that was "used up" pretty quickly, then I remembered Susan Powter (remember her? Stop The Insanity!) used to saute in water, so tried adding a few T of water... what I ended up with was kind of half raw - half soggy onion bits.
Any advice? I don't want to "up" the cals in a recipe by using a lot of oil, and those "spray oils" seem pretty unhealthy (they contain something called "propellant" - not sure if I want to eat that)... is there a "trick" to sauteing onion till it's nice an limp?
Thanks mucho from a cooking noob.
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