This recipe illustrates the method for making a basic herbal oil. Blanching the herb reduces its volume by half and also sets its color, so this basil oil is a striking, intense green. Use this method for making cilantro oil or chive oil. Either virgin or extra-virgin olive oil will work here, but extra-virgin will lend a more pronounced flavor.
Try this as a dip for slices of fresh French or Italian bread.
If the basil is sandy, rinse it and shake dry before picking the leaves off the stems.
• Basil Oil can be refrigerated up to 2 days.
Total Timeunder 15 minutes
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Taste and Textureherby, savory
Type of DishCondiments, dressing, sauces
Combine 2 quarts water and the salt in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the basil and blanch 15 seconds, or until it is bright green and wilted; immediately plunge it into a bowl of ice water. Drain the basil, wrap it in a kitchen towel, and gently squeeze out as much water as possible. In a blender, combine the basil with the oil and blend until smooth. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve, without pressing down on the solids.
1996 Debra Ponzek and Joan Schwartz