Is olive oil better for salads or cooking?
There is a lot of speculation surrounding the different types of olive oil and their uses. People wonder if extra virgin olive oil is better for salads or for cooking, and whilst some swear by using it in absolutely everything, others prefer to save it exclusively for salads and other uncooked dishes.
Extra virgin olive oil is inarguably the most flavorsome and aromatic of all olive oils, and this is due to the fact that it is processed without chemicals, and thus is bottled with the highest nutrient and mineral content possible.
In my opinion, you cannot toss a salad or season a pasta dish with any oil other than extra virgin olive oil. If you used anything else then it would become a greasy, tasteless mess, and you would have to overcompensate with lashings of salt and other seasonings which ultimately ruins the initial delicacy of the dish!
So what about when it comes to cooking? Some studies show that extra virgin olive oil smokes at a lower temperature than any other oils, although other studies suggest that certain refined extra virgin olive oils can withstand very high temperatures. Due to its delicate properties, extra virgin olive oil loses a lot of its unique flavor when introduced to high heat and therefor could be considered a waste if used in frying or baking.
Regardless of this, gourmet chefs prefer to only use extra virgin olive oil in all food preparation and cooking due to its high quality, low acidity and richness in comparison to any other oil. However if you are looking to be more economic, try stocking your cupboards with virgin or regular olive oil for cooking, and reserve your extra virgin olive oil for dishes which have already been cooked, such as drizzling on top of soups or pasta, and of course, never fail to use it when dressing your salads.