Have been experimenting with herb-infused oils.  Today’s experiment, basil oil.  Can’t get over the magnificent shade of emerald green the oil takes on when the basil is pureed with extra virgin olive oil and then strained (you’ll need to strain several times).  The key is to first blanch the basil leaves — quickly plunge into a pot of boiling water and then transfer to an ice water bath — which helps the basil retain its bright green color.  I made this oil both ways (with and without blanching), and the batch without blanching was not nearly as vibrant and green.
Am curious to try this process with other herbs…

The basil oil has a delicate flavor.  Accordingly, you’ll want to use it with something that allows the basil oil’s subtle notes to shine.  Seared scallops immediately came to mind, though any type of mild white fish would pair nicely (thinking halibut or the like).

Such a simple way to start a meal.  Scallops need just a few minutes in a smoking hot pan (~1 1/2 minutes on the first side, and then another minute on the other side) so they nicely sear on the outside, but are still tender on the inside (don’t overcook = tough and rubbery scallops).  Finish with a drizzle of basil oil — elegant, light, and summery.

And who knew that basil was so good for you…read more here.

 

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What else can you do with basil oil??  Here are a few ideas…

Drizzle over your favorite summer heirloom tomatoes (thinly sliced), alone or with fresh mozzarella (or, perhaps, Burrata, mozzarella’s creamier cousin).

Or, over roasted potatoes…

 

Or, as a finishing touch to soup — have a corn chowder in mind; tomato soup too (perhaps this one)…

Over eggs — poached, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, or fried…

Over creamy polenta…

Hmm, what else??

Basil Oil

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Drop the basil leaves in the boiling water for 10 seconds.  Remove and transfer to an ice water bath.  Squeeze as much water as you can from the basil.

Place the blanched basil and olive oil in a blender and blend on high speed for 3 minutes.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve (just let it drip so the solids are not pushed through).  Strain two to three more times, until most of the solids have been removed, and you are left with a bright green oil.

Will keep in the fridge for about a week.  Bring to room temperature before using.

Note: this works best with a high speed blender (such as a Vitamix)

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2 comments

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This basil oil looks so beautiful on all of these dishes. I love the perfectly seared scallops and different colored tomatoes. Perfect!

Reply

This basil oil looks so beautiful on all of these dishes. I love the perfectly seared scallops and different colored tomatoes. Perfect!

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