On a number of occasions, we have told you how stable extra virgin olive oil is and how it can be used at high temperatures. However, just like any food, it breaks down and burns when it reaches a certain temperature, which is known as the smoke point of olive oil.
Logic dictates that, in order to prevent oil from reaching this temperature, it is essential to cook over a medium to low heat. However, we know that slow cooking is not suitable for every recipe. This is the case with fried dishes, for example, which turn out terribly when cooked with oil that is warm rather than hot.
With this in mind, the safest method for avoiding the smoke point of olive oil —and one that can be applied to any recipe— is to use a kitchen thermometer. Measuring the temperature of the oil is essential for ensuring your dishes are full of nutrients, as well as being perfectly gourmet.
When cooking with extra virgin olive oil, you should make sure that the temperature doesn’t go above 200 ºC (390 °F). If this temperature is exceeded, the oil may begin to smoke, signaling that it has reached —and possibly gone over— the smoke point of olive oil.
The art of cooking relies on scientific methods to ensure masterful recipes. That’s why cooking with high-quality extra virgin olive oil, combined with tools like the kitchen thermometer, helps us create true symphonies for the palate.