On our route to visit family in Ottawa, Ontario, we usually drive north to Montreal and hang a left.
It takes a little while, but not as long as you'd imagine, to leave the cluttered outskirts of the city behind. As soon as we cross from Quebec into Ontario, we drive through miles and miles of farm land. If we were to keep going, past Ottawa, beyond Ontario altogether, we'd be driving through canola land.
Yes, there really is such a thing as a canola plant. In fact, in the western provinces there are millions of acres of yellow-flowering canola plants, the result of conventional plant breeding to lower the eruric acid in rapeseed (and subsequent genetic modification for improved tolerance to herbicides, though not all canola is genetically modified).
Canola was invented out there in Western Canada, which is still one of the largest producers of canola oil.
My Canadian husband likes it, but not as much as he likes maple syrup. Or hockey.
What is canola oil?
A neutral-flavored vegetable oil made by pressing seeds of Brassica campestris, a cultivar of rapeseed. Canola oil is low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat and Omega-3 fatty acids. Because of its relatively low smoke point, canola oil isn't good for deep frying, but it's perfect for quick stir-fry dishes and other cooking when you want a more neutral flavor than olive oil (Mexican or Asian dishes, for example).
How/where to store:
In the cupboard, in its original bottle, for up to one year.
More facts about canola oil, and ingredient photos, on The Perfect Pantry:
Canola oil (Recipe: spicy green beans)
Spicy corn with poblano peppers
From The Heart-Smart Diabetes Kitchen: Fresh, Fast, and Flavorful Recipes Made with Canola Oil, published by the American Diabetes Association with the Canola Council of Canada, who kindly sent me a copy of the book. I made a few changes to the original recipe; I didn't seed the tomatoes, but instead increased the amount of spice to compensate for the additional liquid from the tomatoes. This would be a great warm side dish with grilled fish or chicken, and delicious as part of a cold picnic lunch. Serves 4; can be doubled.
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium poblano pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1-1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 heaping tsp chili powder (I use Penzeys Chili 3000, a mild, full-flavored chili powder)
1 tsp ground cumin
6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp kosher salt
Heat oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium high heat. Add poblano and onion and cook, 4-5 minutes, until onion is translucent and pepper is softened. Stir in corn, chili powder and cumin, and sauté 1-2 minutes.
Remove pan from heat, and toss in the tomato and salt. Let stand 2 minutes so flavors will combine. Stir before serving, or let cool and refrigerate; can be served hot or cold.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Potatoes with aioli dressing
Salmon croquettes with sesame-lime sauce
Roasted salmon teriyaki
Chicken or turkey fried rice
Asparagus, pepper and peanut soba
Other recipes that use canola oil:
Perfect popcorn, from Simply Recipes
Easy basic white sandwich bread, from A Year in Bread
Asian chicken salad, from Cafe Lynnylu
Thomas Keller's roast chicken with root vegetables, from The Amateur Gourmet
Thai-marinated fried chicken, from Chez Pim
Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.