So many recipes list olive oil in the ingredients, as the oil to fry things in. What are the benefits or reasons that I should use olive oil over regular generic "cooking oil" and should I always use olive oil over other oils?
According to Harold McGee, using olive oil to fry is basically a waste of money. "After I’d heated them, none of the olive oils had much olive flavor left. In fact, they didn’t taste much different from the seed oils."
According to a Spanish study I have access to, you could use high oleic sunflower oil for frying as it degrades better.
Olive oil is preferred for the flavor it imparts, and by many because it is healthier than other oils. As far as frying goes, it is actually not that great since it has a relatively low smoke point, meaning it will start smoking on you at a lower temperature.
First at all I apologize for my English.
Basically remarks made before are not really true. Smoke point took alone does not mean anything. There are other consideration that must be done to analize oil transformation.
Let's go in order considering two aspects: oxidation parameters and healthy parameters:
Frying is an accelerated process of oxidizing (air oxigene attacks lipidic substratum).
So the stability of fatty acids is related to double connections in its structure and decreases in the order of those categories:
-saturated: 0 unsaturation
So it means 0 unsaturation are definitely more stable oils during frying.
satured: lard, palm;
So until now the better choice are monosaturated oils!
Often associated to formation of acrolein, is closely related to the physic state of oil and not to its fatty acid composition.
The presence of humidity and acidity (free fatty acid), decreases the smoke point.
Although smoke point is lowest you have to consider the oxidation stability as well.
That's because they wrongly talk about smoke point as the central point instead of a more complex process called pyrolysis that is:
Pyrolysis is a thermochemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxidizing agent (normally oxigen).
So here we came!
I hope to have explained in better way why the smoke point is not the right (or better the only one) property of oil that has to be considered.
Of course the extra virgen oil has a strong taste and it's used for food without own taste as said potatoes, fries.
Other staffs should be considered.
I hope I've been helpful!
@Aaronut I completaly agree with you. I always advice to not believe surfer doctor improvisation. This is just a place for opinions!
I'm just pretty surprise of your doubt: "saturated fatty acid are hamful for cardiovascular illnesses"
@rumtscho I definitely prefear Extra Virgen Olive oil. For some frying (very few) I use Peanut oil to not alter some food taste.
I think the best thing to do is use olive oil for cases when you are drizzling it on or cooking for a short time. Otherwise, use vegetable/canola/etc.