This week I was talking with a colleague about using olive oil for baking meat and fish, among other things. When I give someone an example of “our” olive oil, I tell not to use it for baking and frying, but now I realized that I hardly ever mentioned why not to do this.
First of all, it would be a pity to use an olive oil of this quality for baking and frying. You will be burning all the good things away from the oil.
Our olive oil is cold pressed and unfiltered. The pressing of the olives only happens once. And so it is an extra vierge olive oil. The olives are grown in a biological safe manner. So the olive oil is of a very good quality (never heard any complaints about it :P).
So why wouldn’t you use this very good and healthy olive oil for baking and frying?
Extra vierge olive oil contains all kinds of natural elements (antioxidants, beneficial fatty acids and alike) that give the oil its specific taste and odor. These elements make that the smoke point of the oil is rather low (around the 160 degrees Celsius).
When the oil reaches the smoke point, the composition of the oil will change and some very unhealthy substances, as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon, are released.
So baking with an (extra) vierge olive oil is a bad idea. Frying is even worse.
Does this mean that olive oil shouldn’t be used for baking meat, fish, poultry or vegetables? No, that doesn’t mean it all. Olive oil is one of the most healthy fats to bake in. Let me explain.
You can use olive oil very well for baking, but just not (extra) vierge olive oil.
Use what they call “pure olive oil” for this (or “refined olive oil” as it is called as well). As the name indicates, this is only pure olive oil. All other elements, that were causing low smoking point, are removed from it. This olive oil has almost no taste or odor.
This oil can be perfectly used for baking. And it is even cheaper as a good extra vierge olive oil.
So don’t use our olive oil for baking or frying. Use it on salads and warm bread (with a little salt). Use it for your pasta. Use it for your dressings and sauces. Use it anywhere you want to have the rich taste and odor of a quality olive oil… just don’t heat it too much.
And remember, olive oil is very healthy!