Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Basil Oil

(pictured: unstrained basil oil)

This morning I made a quick batch of basil oil for when fresh basil is hard to get this fall and winter. Basil oil is very easy to make. There are only a few steps. The resulting oil is a vibrant green color with a heady basil aroma and flavor. Here is what I did.

Basil Oil
Makes about 1 ¼ cups – 20 tablespoons


2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
½ cup fresh parsley leaves, tightly packed
1 cup extra virgin olive oil


Thoroughly clean the leaves of any dirt or sand.

Bring a large pot of water with a little salt to a simmer. Create an ice bath with ice and water so that you can shock the leaves as soon as they come out of the hot water.

Place the leaves in the simmering water for 20 seconds. Remove the leaves promptly and place them in the ice bath to shock them and lock in the color. As soon as the leaves have cooled (about a minute) remove them from the water. Dry the leaves on a couple of layers of paper towel. Once the leaves are dry move them to a blender and add the olive oil. Puree until the oil is smooth.

Some chefs like to strain the oil through a couple of layers of cheesecloth so that it is transparent green. I prefer to leave the leaf pulp in the oil for the textural and visual difference. When the oil is unstrained it looks like a broken vinaigrette on the plate, which I find very visually appealing.

Store this oil in the refrigerator and use it in a couple of weeks, or freeze the oil for longer storage.

Nutritional Information (per tablespoon):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 96.99
Calories From Fat (99%) - 95.8

Total Fat - 10.84g
Saturated Fat - 1.49g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 1.23mg
Potassium - 20.93mg
Total Carbohydrates - 0.21g
Fiber - 0.12g
Sugar - 0.03g
Protein - 0.18g


This oil is great to use any place you would include fresh basil. Anything with tomatoes is the obviously choice. I like to drizzle it on tomato soup, use it in salad dressings, or decorate plates with drops of the green oil around the rim.

Since I use so little oil now the quantity of oil I made will last me at least 4 or 5 months. To keep it fresh I am going to store it in the freezer in a squeeze bottle with plastic wrap over the top. When I need the oil I will take the bottle from the freezer and place it in a warm water bath to partially defrost the oil. Since I will only be using a few drops at the time enough oil should defrost in a minute or two. Enjoy.

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