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Thread: Question about cooking in Olive Oil (and water)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Chicago, IL.

    Question about cooking in Olive Oil (and water)

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    I love sauteed veggies in garlic and olive oil. One of my favorites is broccoli and I grew up eating it. I also like broccoli steamed and then drizzled with OO after. I've recently come to discover sauteing with OO and water. You add water, then the OO and garlic and heat that up. Then throw in the broccoli and cook it covered for a while, eventually removing the lid. The broccoli comes out great. It's like it is steamed and sauteed at the same time.

    I realized that this is probably healthier as well - since I've started paying more attention to oil/fat smoke points.

    Can I assume that since water boils at 212F, this recipe keeps the oil at 212F or less - thereby staying far away from its smoke point?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Narberth, PA
    Olive oil is fairly resilient to heat oxidation, so I wouldn't worry too much about light sauteing. Although it does diminish the flavor. Rather than worry about temperatures so much, I'd recommend keeping the pan on medium heat and sourcing your olive oil from California and never purchasing imported olive oil. It's typically black market garbage cut with cheap seed and nut oils. If you have a Trader Joe's near you, their California Estate Olive Oil is pretty good stuff. Don't cook it too long, buy good quality extra virgin and you'll probably get the best flavor with the best health benefits.
    Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Kendo, I agree with Chaco. It's my favorite way to cook it as well. A chef showed my daughter the trick a few years ago and now it's the method we use every time we make it.

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Great Falls, Montana
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    Here's a quote from the World's Healthiest Foods website:
    "In principle, organic, unrefined, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil should have the lowest smoke point of all forms of olive oil since this form of the oil is the least refined, most nutrient dense and contains the largest concentration of fragile nutritive components. Oxidation of nourishing substances found in extra virgin olive oil, as well as acrylamide formation, can occur at cooking temperatures very closer to the 300F/148C range. For these reasons, I don't recommend cooking with extra virgin olive oil."
    Here's a chart from About.Com--the temperatures are the various smoke points:
    Vegetable Shortening (Hydrogenated) 325F
    Butter 350F
    Lard 375F
    Olive Oil 325F - 375F
    Corn Oil 400F - 450F
    Canola Oil 425F - 475F
    Clarified Butter 450F - 475F
    Sunflower Oil 450F - 475F
    Soybean Oil 450F - 475F
    Safflower Oil 475F - 500F
    This chart doesn't indicate whether the Olive Oil is Extra Virgin or not. It seems that the more refined an oil is, the higher the smoke point. I would think that you're probably okay to keep doing what you're doing--in fact it sounds so good, I'm going to cook some broccoli that way tonight.

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