This past summer when we were promoting Parthena at our local Farmers Market we had an overwhelming amount of people who were genuinely shocked that you can cook with our oil and heat it to high temperatures all while maintaining its exceptional flavor. One of our family favorites is to make home made french fries in our kitchen with Parthena, seriously we can’t make enough, and goes amazing with Greek fried eggs!
No doubt, you have probably heard that it is advised not to heat olive oil to high temperatures because it begins to smoke, and once it heats its smoke point it is no longer good for you. The smoke point of oil varies with its quality. High quality extra virgin olive oils like Parthena (with low free fatty acids) have a high smoke point. Mass produced, low quality olive oils have a much lower smoke point.
Olive Oil Times had a great article about the myths of frying with olive oil:
Myth number one: The smoking point of olive oil is too low for frying.
Some cooking oils and fats will reach what is referred to as the smoking point before reaching temperatures required for a good fry. The smoking point is the temperature at which a chemical change takes place resulting in undesirable smoke and flavor. Olive oil is not one of them. The smoking point of extra virgin olive oil is somewhere between 380 and 410 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the impurities and acid content of the olive oil: the better the quality, the higher the smoking point. So, it appears that the smoking point of olive oil is well above the temperature required.
Myth number two: Frying temperatures will change olive oil from a ‘good oil’ to a ‘bad oil.’
Cooking fats and oils are considered dietary fats of which there are three types, saturated, trans and unsaturated. The first two are bad, but the third, unsaturated fat, includes olive oil, a healthy plant-derived dietary fat. The heat required to raise the temperature of olive oil high enough to fry food cannot change the chemical composition of olive oil from a good one to a bad one.
Myth number three: Fried foods absorb cooking oil, making you fat.
Properly fried food will absorb much less cooking oil if the temperature of the oil is hot enough before food is introduced. Otherwise, the food will indeed soak up the oil, producing a soggy, flaccid product. You know, like those oil soaked fries you had last week from your favorite fast food chain.
Not only can you fry with extra virgin olive oil, but you should. Frying with EVOO not only satisfies our desire for Southern-fried comfort foods, Asian stir fry, Mexican fajitas and Italian veal piccata, but it does all of that in addition to fulfilling our nutritional requirements for a healthy dietary fat as well.