How To Make Basil Oil
Basil oil is useful for all kinds of recipes to give a summery, fresh taste. You can drizzle it onto tomato soup, pea soup or pizza; you can drape over an insalata tricolore (tomato, mozzarella and avocado); you could substitute it for pesto in burrata and truffle honey; and it’s essential with the gorgonzola millefeuille recipe given here. Mix with lemon juice for an instant dressing. Use as a sauce for new potatoes.
Or top some focaccia with sun-dried tomatoes and ricotta and then drizzle over the basil oil.
Basil oil is particularly good for brushing onto meat which you plan to barbecue.
Try to make it ahead of time – the flavours intensify. It keeps for up to a week in the fridge.
Recipe for making basil oil
- 240ml/1 cup good quality olive oil
- Generous bunch, two cups squashed-down basil leaves (taken off the stem)
- 1 fat clove garlic
- 1 tsp smoked salt
- Blanch the leaves for ten seconds in boiling water, strain and refresh in ice-cold water. You can get away with skipping this step but it keeps the green colour nice and bright so from a presentation point of view it help to make anything you use it with to look stunning.
- Drain the leaves and dab them dry with some paper towel.
- Crush the garlic with the salt.
- Blend the drained leaves, the oil and the garlic together.
“Woman is like a fruit which will only yield its fragrances when rubbed by the hand. Take for example the basil: unless it be warmed by the fingers it emits no perfume…the same with women: if you do not animate her with your frolics and kisses, with nibbling of her thighs and close embraces, you will not obtain what you desire: you will experience no pleasure when she shares your couch and she will feel no affection for you.”
-Sir Richard Burton and Sheikh Nefzaoui, The Perfumed Garden