Flavored oils are so easy to make and taste fantastic drizzled on steamed vegetables, used as a dipping sauce for bread, or wonderful tossed on pasta. Think of all the possibilities using vegetables and herbs from your own organic garden or from one of the many Madison farm markets.
1. Fill your food processor or blender 3/4 the way full with your choice of fresh herbs.
2. Pour in 6 ounces of extra virgin olive oil.
3. Close the food processor and turn it on high for about 30 seconds. Add more herbs and the rest of the oil. Pulse for another minute.
4. Line a sieve or tea strainer with a coffee filter and slowly pour the herb and oil mixture through the coffee filter and into a bowl. Carefully press the herbs against the filter to press all of the oil out of the herbs.
5. Re-line the sieve with another coffee filter and pour the oil in the bowl through once more to catch any loose herbs.
6. Store in a clean jar with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator.
7. Use a good olive oil, as the better the oil, the better the finished infused oil will taste.
- Some combinations to try:
· basil, oregano, onion, garlic
· sage, dill, coriander
· sun dried tomatoes, basil, onion, garlic
· lemon rind, dill, fennel
· rosemary, thyme, garlic
· garlic, onion, hot peppers
· dried mushrooms, shallots
· dried chili peppers, garlic
· The FDA recommends that home-prepared mixtures of garlic-in-oil be made fresh for use and not left at room temperatures. Leftovers should be refrigerated and used within three weeks, or frozen or discarded. Be sure to either use in a timely manner or create small batches at a time.
One of the best ways to use flavored oils is for roasting vegetables. Place sliced fresh vegetables (summer squash and zucchini, eggplant, peppers, potatoes and sweet onions) in a roasting pan. Brush on both sides with a little oil flavored with thyme, rosemary or garlic. Place the pan in a very hot (500 degrees) oven for about 15 minutes. The vegetables crisp and caramelize on the outside, but remain sweet and tender inside – and with the marvelous mellow flavor.
A variety of flavored oils at hand provides endless options for the creative cook. Use a oil infused with garlic, hot chili peppers and herbs to saute fresh greens from your organic garden, to fry potatoes or to coat fresh pasta. Make a few bottles of intensely flavored oils and you’ll always be ready to add a little of the garden’s magic to even the simplest food.
BASIC HERB OIL
For this intensely flavored oil, use an olive oil with a flavor you like – or use mild canola oil for a more pronounced herbal flavor. These oils are great on grilled fish and chicken, pasta or vinaigrette for summer salads.
2 C. extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
1 C. herbs (such as parsley, cilantro, basil, tarragon, orange mint, lemon balm, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano or bay leaves)
As a variation of this recipe, try adding a crushed garlic clove, a small shallot bulb or spices such as peppercorns or hot red chiles. Allow these ingredients to steep in the herb/oil mixture and strain out with the remaining ingredients.
If you grow your own garlic, this oil’s deep mellow flavor will be a special treat for sauteed and roasted foods.
6-8 large cloves garlic
1 C. extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
Using a knife, crush the garlic cloves on a cutting board. Peel, but do not chop the cloves. Add to the oil and set aside to steep. Strain before bottling, reserving the garlic cloves for another use.