In pan frying or sauteing, olive oil acts a a means of transferring heat form the heat source to the food. In sauteing, besides preventing the food from sticking and enhancing its flavor, searing the food in hot olive oil helps crate a golden brown crust around it. This enhances the visual appeal of the cooked food an makes it tastier. One of the biggest myths is that you cannot saute with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The smoke point of olive oil is well above medium high heat required to saute vegetables, meat or seafood.