CSA Cooking: How to Make Basil Oil [with video]

Does your basil plant runneth over? Try making a nice oil to drizzle on salads, bread, and more.

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This recipe is part of the Just Picked series, a partnership between Modern Farmer + Foodterra. Visit our recipe hub for the complete collection, which will be growing throughout the season.

Basil Oil

This aromatic oil adds surprising depth of flavor to vinaigrettes. Or try drizzling it over grilled fish or chicken, tossing it with steamed green beans and a sprinkle of sea salt, or using it as a dip for crostini. Just make sure your basil is 100 percent dry before you infuse it in the oil. Hot oil and water do not mix!

  • 1 cup grapeseed oil or other high-heat cooking oil
  • 4†“5 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, (rinsed and thoroughly dried)
  1. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 250°F. To test temperature, use a deep-fry thermometer or simply dip a basil leaf into the hot oil. If it pops, you’re good to go.
  2. While oil heats, fill a large bowl about halfway with ice and cold water. Float a smaller metal bowl in ice water to chill. Place basil leaves in a blender. 
  3. Pour hot oil over basil and put the lid on the blender, covering central opening with a towel to avoid splatter. Blend on low speed, slowly increasing speed to high until mixture is smooth and even small pieces of basil are blended, 20†“30 seconds total.
  4. Immediately pour basil and oil mixture into cold metal bowl and whisk rapidly for about 2 minutes until oil has cooled. 
  5. Pour into an airtight container, cover, and let infuse in refrigerator for 2†“3 days; any remaining basil pieces will settle to the bottom. Slowly pour basil oil into a glass storage container, stopping when you see basil particles. Strain remaining oil into container through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Use immediately or store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

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