basil-oilInfusing oils is easy. Just like the salt fusions, a few simple ingredients can transform everyday oil into a vibrant bouquet of flavor. And basil oil is one of my all-time favorites. The licorice perfume of fresh basil growing in a garden is intoxicating. I don’t use the oil for cooking. The flavor is to delicate. It’s a finishing oil that can be used on virtually anything. A drizzle here, a few droplets there, elevates an ordinary dish into an extraordinary taste experience. And now you can have it at your fingertips.

Recipe notes: What you will need: 16-glass Mason jar, cheesecloth and strainer. Infusion is made in 3-easy steps. Active prep time 15-minutes. Difficulty level: Moderately easy

FYI: When infusing oil with fresh ingredients, food safety is paramount. Unlike like dry ingredients, fresh ingredients contain water, which allows bacteria to live and grow. Clostridium botulinum (C. bot) thrives in an oxygen-free environment like oil. This is why certain precautions should be adhered to in preparation, and in storing to prevent botulism poisoning.

Ingredients:

  • 2-cups firmly packed fresh basil, stems removed.
  • 1-cup grape seed oil
  • ¼-tsp salt

Preparation:

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Step-1

  1. Bring water to a boil in a 2-qt saucepan.
  2. In a large bowl, prepare ice bath to complete the blanching* process.
  3. Add basil to boiling water for 1-minute. Stain, and immediately submerge basil in ice bath for 5-minutes.
  4. Strain from ice bath, and gently squeeze basil to remove excess water.
  5. Transfer blanched basil to paper towel. Layer with additional paper towel and gently pat dry.
  6. Transfer basil to blender add oil, salt, and puree.
  7. Pour unstrained basil oil into beaker or glass jar and store in refrigerator overnight.

Step-2

Next day: Let oil sit for 1-hour at room temperature before straining.

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  1. Place double layer of cheesecloth in a fine mesh strainer over bowl and strain oil.
  2. Gather corner edges of cheesecloth and bring together to form a bag and secure with a rubber band.
  3. Pinching the banded portion of the bag with one hand, gently counter twist bag with other hand to squeeze out remaining oil.
  4. Discard pulp, pour oil into a plastic or glass measuring cup with spout and let sit on the counter for a few hours.During this time separation occurs. What’s at the bottom is leftover water from blanching and excess sediment.

Step-3

  1. Slowly decant oil into glass jar and discard sediment.
  2. Store oil in refrigerator up to one month.

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*Blanching is a cooking term for shocking either fruit or vegetable by scalding it in boiling water for a short period then immersing it in an ice bath to halt the cooking process, soften the fibers, release flavor, and retain color.