Q. Whenever I try to fry pork chops or diced pork in olive oil it ends up tasting a bit strange and wrong, why is that?
Asks Matilda in Stroud.
A. Ah, the old olive issue.
We all know that olive oil is a wonderful thing, it’s low in blah and high in thingy, it is a beautiful golden colour, it smells wonderful and if of a decent quality can taste heavenly. It compliments so very many things and has a million and one uses.
It should not be used for frying pork, or lamb, deer, beef, kangaroo, or ostrich for that matter!
There are a huge group of (health police) people who will shout from the rooftops that I am wrong, and that olive oil should be used to cook anything and everything, but both my tastebuds and science scream otherwise.
Every kind of oil has a different ‘smoke point’ – the point at which an oil starts to smoke, burn and will eventually catch fire. If you heat any kind of oil past this point two things happen. One is that it starts to taste bitter and horrible, and the other is that the chemical compounds that it is made up of start to break down, which is certainly not healthy at all.
The point that I am very slowly grinding towards is that olive oil, especially virgin and extra virgin have lower smoke points than most other oils that you would use to fry meat.
Everyone knows to be very careful when frying with butter because it burns easily, but seem to ignore the fact that the smoke point of extra virgin olive oil is actually only 10° higher.
When you fry your pork in olive oil there are two problems. One is simply that any decent olive oil has it’s own distinctive taste which permeates and really doesn’t compliment the pork, and the second is simply that you are burning the oil!