According to recent research, the best quality extra virgin olive oil is the safest and most stable oil to cook, even when used at high temperatures.
Extra virgin olive oil is suitable for every cooking style at home - sautéing, frying, baking, or a drizzle of top anything you like.
Extra virgin olive oil is primarily monounsaturated fat. Therefore, extra virgin olive oil's fat composition remains the same, even after heating at high temperatures.
Antioxidants and polyphenols
At a moderate temperature, antioxidants and polyphenols in olive oil did not disappear in the process of being cooked. The antioxidants were (up) to a point reduced but still in concentrations high enough to meet the EU criteria for healthy food.
At the lowest sauté process temperature (120°C), the content of polyphenols in olive oil decreased by 40%, and at the highest sauté process temperature 120°C, the content of polyphenols in olive oil dropped by 75%. Both cases qualify the olive oil as healthy under European Union standards.
The bottom line is that extra virgin olive oil is perfectly safe for cooking. Many published literature demonstrates extra virgin olive oil's safety and suitability for different cooking methods. For example, the most recent research published by the University of Barcelona is "Extra olive virgin oil keeps healthy properties when used for cooking".