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Old 04-10-2008, 05:19 PM   #1
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Frying or cooking with extra virgin olive oil?

Can you cook or fry with extra virgin olive oil? It is often said that it's not healthy due to its low smoke point, but I've heard other people say it is possible. And do you have any recommendations as to other oils that are healthy and I could use for cooking?

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Old 04-10-2008, 05:24 PM   #2
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It's possible, just not the best option. EVOO has a low smoke point (about 350F-375F) so high temperature cooking methods will cause the oil to break down and smoke. This introduces off flavors to a dish.

There are other healthy options such as regular grade olive oil, canola, safflower and others.
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Old 04-10-2008, 05:27 PM   #3
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Thanks Andy. I should add that I prefer buying quality organic oil. But unfortunately if they are unrefined and organic at the same time, they have a very low smoke point.
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Old 04-10-2008, 05:32 PM   #4
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Avocado oil is great to fry with, but out of my price range.
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Old 04-10-2008, 05:39 PM   #5
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Yeah Andy is right on. Also the flash point, the temp at which the oil can burst into flames, is usually not that far away from the smoke point. That is why olive oil is not generally used for deep frying.

As far as cooking with it, sure. There is a difference between sauteing, or what many of us just call frying or pan frying, and deep frying. When you deep fry the idea is to keep the temp high. You add foods at a rate that will not drop the temp too much. You want the oil at a high temperature. And the food volume is usually less than the oil

With just good old regular pan frying the oil is generally less than the amount of oil in the pan. Putting in the food, no matter what the initial temp, lowers the food and the cooking process keeps the temp below the smoking point.

Anyway that is how I understand why I can pan fry in olive oil but not deep fry with it.
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Old 04-10-2008, 05:50 PM   #6
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Thank you auntdot, that's exactly what I wanted to know (pan frying/sauteing). I already knew that deep frying was out of question
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:35 PM   #7
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Deep frying is not out of the question. As a matter of fact Mario Batali deep fries exclusivly with it. You just need to keep a close watch on the temp.
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Old 04-10-2008, 07:46 PM   #8
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Yeah, GB, I know. But it is very hard for a lot of us home cooks to be absolutely sure that the thermometers we have are accurate and the phone isn't going to ring when the heat gets close to the smoke point. Or the two year old falls down and has a tooth through a bleeding lip, or, well you get the idea.

Whenever we deep fry we always have fire extinguishers next to the stove. And as an ex-chemist who has lived through a number of fires, I truly understand the danger. But still I do not deep fry in EVOO.

In my opinion, it is better to use an oil that has a better safety margin. At least for most of us. Mario and many pro chefs are wonders. But my practice is to use an oil with a higher smoke and flash point.

Just my opinion.
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:01 PM   #9
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I am not saying that there are not other oils that are better suited for deep frying. I was simply pointing out that using EVOO for deep frying is not out of the question as the OP had stated.

And you should probably not be answering the phone when deep frying anyway. That is probably not the safest move. When deep frying, your entire attention should be on the pot regardless of the type of oil you are using.
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:07 PM   #10
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I often saute with EVOO and butter mixed together, especially chicken. I think the butter moderates the smoking point a little (I could be wrong). But it tastes so good.
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