The reason why I want to bust this myth is because I too was convinced that olive oil was not good for any type of frying. There is a strong argument that the smoke point of olive oil (190-220’c) is not high enough to prevent the damaging effects ie. when an oil is heated past its smoke point, it generates toxic fumes and free radicals which are extremely harmful to your body.
However, there is increasing evidence that suggests olive oil is completely fine to use for shallow frying.
“If olive oil is used to shallow fry foods for short periods, it is unlikely that your body would be exposed to greater concentrations of aldehydes than it normally would as a result of your body’s normal metabolic processes. While there are clearly healthier ways to cook foods, frying food with olive oil is unlikely to be significantly bad for your health” (James Brown, Lecturer in Biology and Biomedical Science).
Furthermore, the type of olive oil matters. Rachel Adams (Senior Lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan University) states that smoke points tend to increase with olive oil quality, as the free fatty acid content tends to decrease and the antioxidant content increases.
So I suggest if you want to cook, and especially if you want to fry with olive oil, use high quality (low acidity) extra virgin olive oil. It has an exorbitant body of research supporting it as a safe option for cooking, including shallow frying. This is because extra virgin olive oil has three key qualities that make it an excellent cooking oil: it contains predominantly stable monounsaturated fatty acids, it has a low level of free fatty acids and it has a high level of protective antioxidants.