Make your own basil oil, quick and easy
Make your own Basil Oil for cooking
Basil Oil can be made right at home and enjoyed in your cooking for quick refreshing dishes. You can do something similar with many different herbs, but Basil is a herb I have especially enjoyed in the past, and am currently growing in my own herb garden. So I am going with that.
These oils can be used to add flavor to everything from marinades, salad dressings, and cooked dishes. It can be healthy too, as herbs have many healthy and healing properties.
You will need a large bunch of basil leaves, and 1 3/4 pints of extra virgin olive oil. If you only have regular olive oil, that is fine, I just love to use the other in my cooking. Make sure you take the basil leaves off the stems, then tear or cut the leaves into strips. Throw away left over stems. You will definitely be getting that aroma of fresh basil by now. I just love it!
Next, with a mortar and pestle, (or something else similar that will achieve the same results), begin to grind the leaves in with a little of the olive oil. This will be releasing the flavors that you want in your oil. Gradually, keep adding leaves. Make sure the ones you are working on are broken apart pretty well. Again, enjoy the intense aroma of basil.
Next, have a sterilized glass bottle or jar on hand filled with some olive oil. You want to avoid anything with a metal lid if possible. Fill with half the herb leaves. Add in a generous pinch of coarse or rock salt. Fill up the rest of the bottle or jar with the remaining oil and leaf mixture.
Seal it up firmly, and leave alone for two weeks in a cool dry place. Occasionally, it doesn't hurt to tip the bottle or jar sideways or upside down to make sure all the flavors are mixing together fully and to stimulate more infusion of the leaves. Give it two weeks, and you will have wonderful, lovely basil oil!
What to do with your basil oil?
*You will want to use it, though some may just decorate with it. Here are a few ideas that come to mind.
*Cook up some pasta until it is Al Dente, then drain. Add some grated Parmesian or Romano cheese onto it, and add some of your basil oil all while the pasta is still warm. After draining my pasta, I move the pan from the original heat source on the stove top. I put the pasta back in, and do this part of adding a little cheese and the basil oil. It stays nice and warm that way.
*You can get a loaf of French or Italian bread, and tear pieces off and use your new oil for dipping it in. This tastes really good, especially while waiting for dinner or lunch, or just as a snack.
*How about adding some rosemary, and marinating your chicken in this oil before cooking? You will enjoy the freshness.
*Add this oil and a little vinegar to your next salad with tomatoes and mozzarella. Just a tomato and mozzarella salad is yummy with this, and added cracked pepper on top.
Health benefits of Basil
Don't forget how healthy basil is for you. Sometimes, when something tastes so good, we may think that it can't be good for us, but not true! Basil can help with reducing cardiac problems, stress, calming irritable skin, respiratory problems, and even the common cold. It also boosts the immune system in general, contains antioxidants and thus helps us fight aging processes, and can even help with some depression and melancholy. One I hadn't heard before, is that it can even help fight fatigue. I could go on, but you get the point. Why not get more basil into our diets today, and especially in a new form like Basil Oil? Have fun experimenting with this and other herbs in a similar way. Its so good for you and tasty too.