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Olive Oil

Cooking with regular olive oil (not extra-virgin)

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Cooking with regular olive oil (not extra-virgin)

joeljkp | Nov 10, 2009 02:39 PM

I'm confused about the role of regular (not extra-virgin) olive oil in the kitchen.

I've always understood that extra-virgin is a delicate oil, the fine wine of fat, intended for lightly-cooked sauces, drizzling, and dipping. Cook's Illustrated has a few articles mentioning this, and advocating regular olive oil for sauteing, pan-frying, etc. They even said the regular stuff has a slightly higher smoke point.

And yet, every CI recipe I've seen calls explicitly for extra-virgin.

Same with Bittman - his "about oils" chapter in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian says that fine extra-virgin has delicate flavors that are wasted when cooked, but all his cooked recipes call for it anyway.

And to add to the confusion, at least in my local store, extra-virgin and regular oils are exactly the same price.

So what's the role of regular olive oil? Does it have one?

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