How to make lemon-infused oil, and what to use it for

It’s Mothers’ Day today…. and there may be some of you struggling still to think of a last-minute present.

Decades ago I used to make lemon infused oil, and I used it over everything. It’s quick to make, it’s ‘handmade’, and it’ll certainly be appreciated.

Uses, just a few examples, for lemon-infused oil

  • I used it as a last minute dressing, it did at least have an element of bright, acid taste
  • For example on a courgette and walnut salad
  • Over roast monkfish
  • or warm focaccia it was sublime
  • or drizzled over flatbreads
  • Drizzled at the last minute over slightly dried out roast vegetables, aubergines especially, it was a life-saver
  • It was grand over grilled fish
  • Greek salad….
  • even giving butter a run for its money on new potatoes
  • it was particularly good on broccoli
  • or as a marinade… again for chicken
  • use it to make pastry as in Neolithic Meat Pie

Two more uses for infused lemon oil: roasted leeks and olive oil pastry

And then it just dropped out of use. Until I went to a cooking session run by Iain Longhorn, at Limewood. And there he was, using it everywhere, as I used to, most notably over roasted leeks.

Then Covid struck. And I began research for a book about pies. A revelation was the Neolithic meat pie. This is encased in pastry made with olive oil… and the taste of the oil does a lot for the pastry – it’s quick, crumbly, and full of flavour. Substituting some, if not all, of the oil for lemon infused oil results in something wondrous.

Dress it up with a ribbon and a label, it makes a great present.

Adding lemon grass

The idea of enhancing the taste of the oil further with lemon grass came from my adventures in developing N-Gin, a gin which recalls the spark and crash of an engine.

how to make lemon infused oil
Experimenting with making N-Gin, the lemon grass proved a great addition.

Adding fennel seeds

And the idea of infusing oil with fennel seed comes from a number of blogs in New Zealand… a lovely idea which adds a bit of complexity to the whole thing, memories of a decadent pastis.

To find various simple ways of sterilising bottles, follow this link.

how to make lemon infused oil
The important thing is to ensure no pith gets in. Only the peel on the far left is acceptable.
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