© Denzil Green
Walnut Oil is an oil made from walnuts. It has a very strong flavour. It is primarily valued in cooking for the depth of flavour that it can add; you usually use it in small quantities to enhance the flavours of salad dressings, etc.
To make Walnut Oil, the walnuts are first toasted to develop the flavour and loosen the oil. The walnuts are then cold pressed to extract the oil from them. Five pounds (2 kg) of walnuts are needed to make 1 litre of the oil.
The oil can be sold unrefined, or semi-refined. Unrefined Walnut Oil has a smoke point of 320 F (160 C); semi-refined Walnut Oil has a smoke point of 400 F (205 C.) Almost all Walnut Oil is unrefined, so you can see that its smoke point is pretty low to be frying or sautéing with this oil. But because it’s quite expensive, and heat destroys the flavour, you wouldn’t actually want to use it for frying, anyway.
Most brands are imported from France.
Walnut Oil is best combined with another oil that is neutral in flavour. Add only a few spoonfuls of Walnut Oil into the other oil if you are planning on using it for salad dressing. Good in baked goods. Used a lot in French cooking.
Try an impromptu salad of pear slices and shavings of fresh parmesan, with a drizzle of Walnut Oil over, or drizzle it over green beans or steamed vegetables.
Store walnut oil in the refrigerator. It might thicken in the fridge, but just bring to room temperature for an hour or two before you need it.
Walnut oil doesn’t keep well for a long time however you store it, so buy only a little at a time.