Save your fanciest olive oils (sometimes called finishing oils) for a crisp side salad or burrata and tomato Caprese. The priciest olive oils tend to be those of the utmost quality, typically cold-pressed and graded extra virgin. According to Wolfgang Puck, these expensive olive oils are best kept off the stove because once you heat them, the particles they contain burn (via MasterClass).
This heating process neutralizes the desirable, tangy flavor of good EVOO, essentially nullifying the extra cost. Southern Living echoes Puck’s reasoning, noting that expensive extra virgin olive oil is intended to be enjoyed in its purest (not-heated) form. Once heated, the flavors of the olive oil wane. So, you’re better off sautéing with olive oil that’s already less flavorful to begin with.
Granted, you don’t have to skimp on the fancy stuff altogether. According to Real Simple, splurging on a nicer olive oil is, indeed, worth it, so long as it’s kept intact; the best, cold-pressed oils offer simple and easy solutions to brighten the taste of any dish. They’ll likewise keep well on the shelf. All the more reason to store a couple, different bottles of olive oil on your shelves.