While olive oil is a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, it also has a low smoke point. And, when you heat oil beyond its smoke point, it starts to break down chemically.
It loses most of its antioxidants, releases toxic chemicals in the form of smoke and is no longer good for you. Virgin and extra-virgin oils are best to use uncooked or cooked at very low to medium temperatures. Refined and olive oil grade oils are the choices for high-heat uses, such as frying.
Most of us use more oil than we need, adding extra calories. In fact, some people think that food won’t absorb extra oil in the pan, but foods like eggplant, for example, absorbs oil like a sponge.
To determine the amount of olive oil you need, you have to consider the type and quantity of food, size of the pan and how well done you want it. So, if you are heavy-handed when you cook with olive oil, then follow these tips…
For lean meat, fish and poultry
Pour about 2-3 tbsp of oil in the pan to cover it for lean fish, meats and poulty.
For fattier meats
Because fatty meats have very little connective tissue and a high level of marbling, they get tender very easily, and don’t need much oil during the cooking process. Lightly sear fatty meats in a hot pan with just a tiny bit of olive to give it a crispy crust while leaving the inside soft and tender.
Related Article: 12 Health Uses For Olive Oil
Sautéing veggies in olive oil is just scrumptious. Coat them lightly in oil before cooking, then add another thin layer to the pan. Replenish as needed. You can also use olive oil to roast veggies in the oven. To do this, use the same rule of thumb as when you sauté them.
Olive oil is great for sautéing tofu too. Press the tofu overnight to eliminate water. The next day, toss it lightly in oil and spread another layer of oil onto the pan before cooking. This will let you maximise flavour. Yum!