basil oil

here in new york winter is slowly creeping to an end. this is the time of year where if you squint hard enough you can see spring in the distance, but you can’t quite touch it yet. i am yearning for spring’s bounty of herbs, fruits and veggies. i miss its flowers, green grass, and tree buds. therefore, this recipe comes out of my need for something green, and fragrant, and alive! luckily, our local market supplies fresh herbs from gotham greens, a rooftop greenhouse a few miles away in greenpoint. as soon as frank and i opened the lid to the container our noses were filled with the most delightful smell! the smell of fresh, pungent herbs. at this point in the year there is nothing better.

lately my eye has been going to oils infused with herbs. i think i was intrigued when i saw a tarragon oil to garnish a soup. it was much different than a pesto; the oil was a delicate green color without a trace of herb leaves or residue. i left this recipe alone for fear that an oil infused with herbs would prove too difficult to make – especially in my little kitchen. but with frank’s help i was able to pull it off! the result is a lightly flavored oil, with a bright green hue. i would say that this oil is good for drizzling on bread, or on fresh mozzarella. we used it to top off our pizzas (a post to come later on…). basil oil, or any herb oil is not difficult to make. all you need is a food processor or blender, and fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth, and lastly, some time and patience.


recipe from Fine Cooking

:: makes 3/4 cup basil oil ::

1 cup good olive oil

2 packed cups basil

a couple pinches of fine grain sea salt



:: directions ::

measure the oil and place in the refrigerator while you prepare your basil

bring a small pot of water to a boil while water is boiling prepare an ice bath for the basil

place the basil in the boiling water and blanch for 10-15 seconds

pour the basil into a colander and quickly transfer to the ice bath

once the basil is cooled (about 5 seconds) squeeze out excess water and transfer to your food processor

add oil and salt and blend until smooth

let the mixture sit for 30 minutes

basil oil2

over a bowl use your fine mesh sieve (or cheesecloth) and gently push down the basil mixture with the back of a spatula to extract the oil

use right away or store in an air tight container in the refrigerator

:: enjoy ::