Infuse Your Own Oil

24 Feb
I’m a big fan of olive oil.  Not only do I use it for most of my cooking, it’s my favorite condiment aside from salt and pepper (what can I say?  I’m a traditionalist).  I love tossing pasta in olive oil, dipping bread in olive oil and drizzling olive oil over vegetables.  I can’t get enough.  I recently bought a little sprayer that allows me to spray olive oil on cookie sheets, into pans, and onto my popcorn in a thin, even layer.
It didn’t occur to me until I was visiting a friend’s house a few months ago just how easy it is to create your own flavored oils.  Here’s what you do:
1) Take something delicious like sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary, garlic, lemon rind, chiles, basil and basically anything else you can think of.
2) Stick in in a jar of olive oil and leave it there.
That’s it!  You can let it sit for a few days and then strain it, but why not just let it float around in there, making your olive oil beautiful and exotic looking (though if you’re not going to use it within a week or two, pressure can it).
I put some purple basil and a clove of garlic in a jar of olive oil a few months ago and forgot about it until I pulled it out from behind a bunch of other jars as I was tidying up the kitchen this week.  I cut up a baguette and used the oil for dipping. It was delicious– spiciness from the garlic and the green-ness of the basil was the perfect combination.

3 Responses to “Infuse Your Own Oil”

  1. Jonathan February 24, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    It’s not generally a good idea to leave the stuff floating in the oil for a long time, because it creates a perfect environment for our friend Clostridium botulinum. There are plenty of tutorials out there on how to minimize or eliminate the risk.

  2. mackeyda February 24, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    This is true. Nobody likes botulism.

  3. magi walker February 25, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    I found out the hard way that fresh herbs, olive oil, and room temp do not mix… I made 12 bottles for gifts that got ruined. However, I learned that dried herbs can be used or a heated infusion with fresh ingredients that are then removed before storage… this will allow you to leave an oil out on the counter or in a cabinet. Otherwise, simply refrigerate and use quickly, which is easy since it makes a great pasta sauce, easy favor enhancer for sautés, or a perfect popcorn topper!

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