We’re about to get fancy people. Today you are going to learn just how easy it is to make flavored and infused olive oils. If you have never tried an infused olive oil, then you and your food are in for quite the treat.
I have had a variety of infused oils before, but I have never bought my own. They were either gifts or I was using someone else’s when cooking at their house. The reason I never bought my own? They are expensive! A good infused oil can be $15 to $20 a bottle and sometimes even more. Don’t get me wrong, they’re delicious and add a ton of flavor to a dish, but I’m not spending $20 on a bottle of fancy oil. Sorry, I’m just not that girl.
Then I learned just how simple it is to make your own fancy oil. For some reason, I thought it was this complicated and mysterious process to infuse olive oil. It really isn’t. It’s as simple as choosing the flavors you want, heating those flavors with some olive oil, cooling/straining, and then using your infused oil in all the foods.
The options are endless when it comes to infused oil. You can do fruit/citrus, garlic, onions, herbs, or even flowers. It’s all up to you. A few pointers before we get started:
- Use decent olive oil. It doesn’t have to be super expensive, but better oil will result in better flavor
- For herbs, try to use fresh instead of dried. Both will work, but fresh will leave a more powerful and fresher flavor. Also, blending the herbs with the oil will have a more intense flavor
- For spices, buy whole and either leave them that way or ground them at home. Store-bought ground spices just don’t have the same freshness as whole and home-ground
- For aromatics like garlic or onion, you can leave them in the oil instead of straining them out. This will keep infusing the oil with their flavor and make them stronger
- Infused oils HAVE to be stored in the fridge. Because the oil has been heated it will spoil faster if left out on the counter. Just pull the oil out of the fridge a few minutes before you use it.
Once you start infusing your olive oil, you’ll want to try all the different kind of flavors. Infused oils are great for adding another layer of flavor to dishes, work really well in salad dressings, and are great for dipping bread into. They also make really pretty and thoughtful gifts. So let’s get to the infusing!
Infused Olive Oil
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup cilantro, washed and stems removed
- 6 cloves garlic, washed and rinsed (you don’t want dirt in your oil)
- 4 strips of lime peels, use a vegetable peeler to remove even strips
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
- If you want you can roast the garlic cloves at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes. It isn’t necessary, but gives the oil a nice rich garlic flavor
- While garlic is roasting, wash and remove the stems from your cilantro. Blend the one cup of olive oil with the cilantro and pour into a medium saucepan.
- Add in the roasted (or not) garlic, red pepper flakes, and lime peels. Heat over medium-low heat until the oil is lightly bubbling, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Once the oil is cool, use a fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth to strain your oil into a glass container. You can add back in the garlic if you would like to have a more powerful flavor.
- Seal tightly and store in the fridge. The infused oil will keep for up to a month
It might seem like a lot of steps, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy. You can keep it simple and just infuse your oil with one thing like garlic or basil or red pepper or you can get more creative and create blends like star anise, lemongrass, and orange or oregano, basil, and thyme. Plain old olive oil just isn’t going to cut it anymore once you start infusing it with awesome flavors.
What blend would you make for your oil?