Maybe you’re looking for a homemade gift for your favorite foodie. Or maybe you’re just looking to stock pile some gourmet ingredients to elevate your pantry. Infused oils are easy to make, and can easily add flavor to anything you typically cook with oils. They also make amazing dipping sauces for breads or other tapas style appetizers. The other beauty is you can infuse them with literally anything you want. You can transcend any culinary ethnicity, style or palate you want. I’m going to provide a couple of resources for inspiration. One, is a book… The Flavor Bible. It literally has flavor’s complimentary pairing(s) that you can think of. So if you’re thinking lemon, olive oil and “gee, what else?” You could look it up and find, capers (Italian) or ginger (Asian) or even chestnuts (make a nut oil). It really is a staple in my kitchen. I mean, for Christmas I am making rack of lamb with a rosemary and pistachio crust. What do you think the book says pairs well with lamb? (Besides a Bordeaux or a Cabernet) Rosemary!
In case you’re not rushing off to Amazon to purchase a book, Epicurious also has great information on making infused olive oils. Consider Epicrurious.com equivalent to food Google.
So, a quick recap:
Infused olive oils make great gifts, or are even better to keep stocked in your own pantry.
Infused oils can make endless combinations.
The Flavor Bible and Epicurios are great resources for food pairings; which is relevant to picking your ingredients with these oils.
I love lamb.
The instructions below are based off of the portions that fit the vessels I put my infused oils in. Your portions may vary based on how much you want to make and the sizes of the storage containers. I know this sounds too vague to follow. But this isn’t an exact science. If you want extra garlic, use extra garlic. You can play around however you want.
You also don’t need to buy the finest olive oil in the land. I would suggest extra virgin olive oil. But once you’ve found that baseline, then you don’t necessarily have to reach for the priciest bottle.
The two infusion flavors I will “make” in this post are
Spicy Tomato and Rosemary
as well as a
Herbes de Provence Garlic Balsamic EVOO blend
As I mentioned above, I began my measuring roughly 2/3-3/4 of the way to the top of my storage container with EVOO. And for the blend it was about 1/2 EVOO and 1/4 balsamic. Make sure you leave at least 1” room at the top, AFTER you add the infusion ingredients. So you will probably want 2”-3” empty space when measuring out your liquid ingredients.
So for my Spicy Tomato and Rosemary Olive Oil I used:
3 cups EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
¼ cup jarred sundried tomatoes
1 tbsp oil from the sundried tomatoes jar
1 tbsp minced garlic
3 springs rosemary
1 tsp red pepper flakes (you can do a little less if you have an aversion to spice)
In a food processor, pulse the sundried tomatoes, jar oil, garlic rosemary and red pepper flakes together. It doesn’t have to be a puree, but you need to think about the opening of the container you’re using. A second consideration is mixing it together. If there are heavier pieces, they will probably never leave the bottle.
Add the EVOO and the blend to a pot and allow it to heat until it begins to bubble. You Don’t want it to “boil” or it will fry the other ingredients. Remember, you’re heating oil in a pot. J Allow it to lightly bubble for 2-3 minutes. If any of the non oil ingredients begin to darken, remove from heat immediately.
Once everything cools down (because I did try to transfer hot oil, oops) transfer into your storage containers. Pour the olive oil (with a funnel if you have one) then spoon in the more solid ingredients if necessary.
For the Herbes de Provence and Garlic Oil/Balsamic Blend:
2 cups EVOO
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp Herbes de Provence
Pour your EVOO and balsamic into a pot, add the minced garlic and the Herbes de Provence. Heat the mixture until it begins to bubble. You Don’t want it to “boil” or it will fry the other ingredients. Remember, you’re heating oil in a pot. J Allow it to lightly bubble for 2-3 minutes. If any of the non oil ingredients begin to darken, remove from heat immediately.
Once everything cools down (because I did try to transfer hot oil, oops) transfer into your storage containers. Pour the olive oil/vinegar (with a funnel if you have one) then spoon in the more solid ingredients if necessary.
Label and top off. As I mentioned above, you may want to make more or less, depending on what you plan on transferring your infusion to.
Seriously, the combinations are truly endless. But I wouldn’t go with EVOO, kitty litter and pine needles.
Heres a video I made!