Last week I was having dinner at my friend Katy’s house. Katy is an incredible chef who works at a restaurant I worked in when I was younger. When I left working the commercial kitchen, she carried on and is now a sous chef in a classy place. She was making delicious fried salmon fillets and to my surprise, she was frying with olive oil.
“Are you sure it’s safe to fry with olive oil?”
Oh, how I wish I’d have said nothing. Katy was quite unimpressed with my lack of knowledge in this area, and went on to tell me that she uses olive oil to fry most of her dishes. I won’t doubt her again any time soon!
Thanks to Katy, I came to learn that science did not support my beliefs. That if you know how to fry with olive oil you’ll get a lot of its frying benefits. It does have a low smoke point, but that does not exclude it from being used as a frying oil. Its 210°C is the smoke point is actually a blessing in disguise. Searing food in it might release a lot of smoke, but that is fine. No harmful substances come out of it. That is what makes cooking with olive oil more interesting.
I also came to learn that using olive oil for frying makes the food tastier. It quickly develops a crust on the food, which protects against further penetration of oil into the fried food. That significantly improves the flavor of your food. Even better, in contrast with other oils that leave your food soaked with more fat content, you can eat more fries made from olive oil without worries of gaining weight (well, to an extent). I’m always trying to find ways to satisfy my urge for unhealthy foods with healthier alternatives. The body digests it equally when you use it for the first time and reuse it as well.
Another interesting fact resurfaced. Reusing olive oil for frying increases its volume and so, you won’t be needing more like other used oils. But you should never use it more than five times for this purpose or mix it with other oils to increase its lifespan.
Olive oil is beneficial to the human body in many ways. It’s no wonder that it’s such a key component in a Mediterranean diet. From stimulating blood circulation, improving the digestive system performance, skin protection, anti-aging properties, to bolstering how the endocrine system works, olive oil is a great part of our meals. Frying with olive oil provides all these benefits.
The Best and Worst Foods for Frying With Olive Oil
The meals you fry will depend on what you love. There are some foodstuffs one might think are ridiculous that are a delicacy to other people. Katy was determined to show me the variety of foods olive oil can make. And we tried it all!
We fried meats, veggies, and potatoes. They all turned out great. You just need to put enough of it on your skillet for the foods to be submerged inside for proper cooking. Some of the top five considerations for frying with olive oil include:
If you are looking to a crispy delicacy, then fried fish using olive oil is what you need. To get the perfect results, make the oil very hot (175 – 190°C).
Any nutritionist will suggest more intake of fruits and veggies. But eating vegetables is not at all thrilling for most people. But when frying with olive oil, they become more appetizing for more intake. The olive oil should be heated to a medium-hot of about 140°C.
Crisp the bottom of your fried eggs in the morning for a few seconds to give it a flavor that regular oil cannot. Do it in medium hot olive oil.
Even though not healthy for us when we take in huge proportions, doughnuts fried in olive oil will make us drooling for more.
If you want to make your pizza dough soft, frying with olive oil will help. Flash fry the dough and top it with the ingredients before baking. You’ll get the best pizza you’ve ever made! When frying flour meals, make your olive oil temperatures hot (between 155 – 170°C).
But, there are certain foods that frying in olive oil would be a waste. For example:
Burgers should already have tons of flavor packed in, if you bring the taste of olive oil into this, it might be a little much. Also, the colour of the olive oil on a burger bun can be a little unsightly.
Bacon fries in its own grease. Deep frying it makes it more unhealthy, thus not advisable.
While success in the kitchen comes from experimenting with new stuff, you don’t want to fry super fatty foodstuffs in olive oil. Know your limits and only try what is healthy for your body.
Can You Use Olive Oil to Fry Chicken?
“Can you fry chicken in olive oil?” I asked
“Chicken has no better place than in the frying pan or skillet. And olive oil will help us deliver great results.”
We checked the temperature of our chicken to ensure its not under 74°C to avoid frying it for longer. I helped with the seasoning as he cleaned the surfaces and the chicken to avoid cross-contamination before we could start the frying with olive oil. We then let the olive oil to preheat to 190°C (I was standing by with the fire extinguisher just in case things got out of hand). We then dipped chicken pieces and let them fry for about fifteen minutes. The pieces looked amazing when we pulled them out using tongs.
Frying Chips With Olive Oil
Just to make olive oil chicken a complete meal, Katy suggested we fry chips as well. I know what you’re thinking – can you fry french fries in olive oil?!
She said you need a heavy and deep skillet or a deep fryer filled with oil. Let the oil to become very hot before dipping your raw chips in them. This cooking will result in well-cooked and crispy fries that go along well with chicken. While she didn’t change my views on frying traditional chip shop chips, she’s made me think twice about mediterranean potato side dishes.
When you fry potatoes in olive oil, they become more nutritious. The antioxidants in the oil transfer onto the chips for the benefit of the body. And like mentioned before, unlike using other oils, this food is less oily since olive oil doesn’t soak into the fries. They looked scrumptious when we got them out of the oil.
We served olive oil chicken and chips and the taste was out of this world! Besides the good looks, my glands wanted more every time.
I had learned a lot of cooking from my friend, but this day was enlightening. It surprised me how much I had missed because of misconceptions. I had caused a lot of damage already by spreading the wrong gospel, and it was time to amend my wrongs. Olive oil for frying produces great meals. Try it.