Kitchen Myths

Facts and fiction about food and cooking, by Peter Aitken

Tag Archives: olive oil

You cannot deep-fry in olive oil

Olive oil has a lower smoke point than most other oils and as a result many people think you cannot use it for deep frying. Balderdash! This would be news to many Italians including the famous TV chef Mario Batali. Olive oil’s smoke point is about 375 degrees and most frying is done below that. Also, just because an oil smokes a little does not mean it is ruined.

Using olive oil for deep frying is undoubtedly expensive. The least expensive olive oil is, in my experience, about twice the cost of other oils that are used for frying such as peanut or canola. Plus you should discard the oil after a single use because the low smoke point means that the oil degrades more during that first use. So, you may never actually want to use olive oil for deep frying, but it is most certainly possible – and can give terrific results for some recipes!

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When sautéing in olive oil, use extra virgin oil for the best flavor

We all know that extra virgin olive oil has the best flavor. But, it turns out that these flavors pretty much all vanish when the oil is heated to sautéing temperatures. If you still want to use olive oil, for the health benefits perhaps, save your money and use a cheaper refined oil, saving the extra virgin for salads, dipping bread, and other non-heated uses. If you want that lovely olive oil flavor on cooked foods, drizzle a bit of the good stuff on after cooking.

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