Home cooks know to reach for the green bottle when finishing a dish, or for cold preparations like salad dressing. But good extra virgin olive oil should also come to mind as a versatile and multitasking cooking oil for high-heat searing, frying, and sauteing – adding great flavor and healthy properties to anything on the stovetop.
EVOO can safely reach temperatures of over 425 degrees Fahrenheit, which is plenty hot enough for, say, frying chicken. And many chefs even push it beyond. “We like to get it screeching hot and pour it over tuna carpaccio,” says Carrollton Market Chef/Owner Jason Goodenough, whose 58-seat restaurant pours through gallons of quality extra virgin olive oil every month. The New Orleans chef also elevates EVOO to smoking hot temperatures to blister cherry tomatoes in seconds, then tosses them with garlic, shallot, and oregano as a bed for roasted striped bass and an arugula puree.
Goodenough, a protege of Mario Batali, adds, “Mario Batali has been cooking with extra virgin olive oil on high heat since the beginning of his career.”
In a forthcoming UC Davis Olive Center study on cooking with olive oil, the COR Arbequina extra virgin olive oil shows very little oleocanthol loss when exposed to common cooking temperature and time – as high as 428 degrees for 30 minutes. (Oleocanthol is the compound in quality olive oil that gives it its unique, peppery flavor in the back of your throat.)
“It’s a misconception that you can’t use EVOO for high-heat cooking,” implores Goodenough. Reach for the green gold for whatever you’re cooking – from start, to finish.