Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More thoughts on Extra Virgn Olive Oil

A very common question I get is regarding the use of Olive Oil in the cooking process.
For some, it seems to be the only thing they use. The same 20 dollar bottle used for salad dressings and drizzles is also used for sauteing, roasting and even frying.
But where does this trend come from?
Italy? NO!
The Mediterranean? NO!
How about TV? . . . . Most likely, a few very influential television personalities (who shall remain nameless{but her initials are RR}) cook with only extra virgin olive oil.
How do I feel about this?
I'll tell you reader, I don't feel very good about this at all.
It's just not chemically suited for high heat. Extra Virgin Olive Oil smokes at around 375 degrees. (meaning it literally breaks down in glycerol and free fatty acids) Maybe reach for an oil with a higher smoke point like grapeseed (420) or avocado oil (520)**. Even a vegetable oil (peanut, canola, corn/all around 450) will do the job a little better, though go for organic if you can, most conventional oils are made with genetically modified crops.
For me, mainly its a poor value. You're paying extra money for a great tasting oil that comes with the added perk of health benefits. When you overheat extra virgin olive oil, it loses a lot of these taste properties, and while it doesn't become unhealthy per se. Along with the taste, some those beneficial properties are lost.
So reserve that Extra Virgin Olive Oil for the special applications where you can really appreciate it.

**For a list of oil smoke points go here.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Creative Commons License
Grill-a-Chef by Joshua Stokes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.