All fats are not created equal: Even saturated versions can be heart-healthy in moderation. Preliminary data show the unique blend of fatty acids and antioxidants (including vitamin E and CoQ10) in red palm fruit oil—once considered a sacred food in tropical Africa—support eye, skin, and heart health. Additionally, this colorful yet mild oil may be better than a good olive oil (which tastes anything but neutral) for cooking and baking (see recipe below).
Red palm fruit oils, including a blend of red palm and canola oil, are available online and in stores.
Note: Always check product labels carefully. Only purchase those containing palm fruit oil—not the less nutritious (and less expensive) palm kernel oil.
The following recipe is courtesy of Chef Gerard Viverito, CEC, CHE.
Seared Halibut over Beet Salad with Broken Tomato and Red Palm Fruit Oil Vinaigrette
(Makes 4 servings.)
Red Palm Fruit Oil Vinaigrette
5 large vine-ripened tomatoes or 1 can if out of season
2/3 cup red palm fruit oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Gray salt and freshly ground pepper
Core tomatoes, chop, place in blender, and puree. Strain through sieve into bowl for about 2 1/2 cups puree.
Heat 1 tablespoon of red palm fruit oil in non-reactive medium saucepan until hot. Add garlic and sauté briefly until golden. Add puree and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Strain through fine-mesh sieve into bowl, and discard solids. Repeat twice more until mixture is thick as cream, about 15 minutes total cooking time for 1/4 cup of very smooth tomato juice. (Caution: Lower heat as mixture thickens to prevent scorching.) Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste. Coat a funnel and glass bottle with red palm fruit oil. Cool and strain tomato juice into prepared bottle. Add equal amount of red palm fruit oil to bottle. Shake gently to mix.
Raw Beet Salad
3 small raw beets, trimmed and peeled
¼ teaspoon grated orange zest
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon agave syrup
2 tablespoons good-quality extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut beets on julienne blade of mandoline, or grate on box grater.
Combine beets, orange zest, and shallots in medium bowl.
In small bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, agave, olive oil, mustard, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture over salad and toss gently to combine.
4 5-ounce halibut fillets
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons red palm fruit oil
Season fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of red palm fruit oil in large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Place presentation side of fish (skinless side) in pan first for best caramelization. Cook until golden on first side, about 3 minutes. When the fish gets opaque around edges, give it another minute and flip to other side. Cook another minute. Remove from pan and plate over beet salad, spoon palm fruit oil vinaigrette around the plate. Serve immediately.