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Chris Ward

Basil oil - a real taste of the south of France

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This is a very simple sauce, condiment if you will, that I use mostly on Trilogies but which also goes very well with carpaccio of beef, tomatoes on their own or more or less any place where you find a need for something a bit vinaigrette-y.

And best of all it's really simple to make.

Buy a basil plant or, if you're a gardening whizz, grow one. Go on, I'll wait. Tum te tum. Ok.

Now, pull of the leaves. You can leave the tiny stalks attached to the leaves but nothing more. 

When you have a container full of leaves, add about 4 cms of olive oil and a small pinch of salt, then whizz it up with your cheap stick mixer. Add more olive oil as you go. Keep mixing until your mixer feels to hot, then taste the oil. You can add a fair amount of oil - I reckon one plant's good for about 250-400 ml of oil.

You can use it as it is, or add lemon juice or another acid to really transform it into a vinaigrette. Add parmesan too and it goes well on crunchy salad leaves or beef carpaccio.

It'll keep a bit in the fridge but be careful, you're smooshing all sorts of bugs into the basil which could harm you.

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Chris Ward

http://eatsleepcookschool.wordpress.com

I wrote a book about learning to cook in the South of France: http://mybook.to/escs

 

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And the olive oil doesn't go bitter, even after you mix "until your mixer feels too hot"?  Hmmm...

 

I'm just thinking out loud here:  Wouldn't it be better to break down the basil with a small amount of neutral oil, and then whisk in olive oil at the end?

 

(I tried David Lebovitz's recipe for basil vinaigrette a few weeks ago.  I'll try your version with lemon juice sometime soon...)


So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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I have a cheap mixer. Use good quality oil and mix in short bursts but don't be afraid to keep going. Or do it in a blender. The oil isn't heated but anyway olive oil has a high smoke point. Why start with a neutral oil? 


Chris Ward

http://eatsleepcookschool.wordpress.com

I wrote a book about learning to cook in the South of France: http://mybook.to/escs

 

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10 hours ago, Chris Ward said:

I have a cheap mixer. Use good quality oil and mix in short bursts but don't be afraid to keep going. Or do it in a blender. The oil isn't heated but anyway olive oil has a high smoke point. Why start with a neutral oil? 

 

Not sure what type of french olive oil you are getting, but olive oil around these parts surely does NOT have a high smoking point.  Quite the opposite in fact.

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Really? Wikipedia says it's 207°C, 405°F - what are you trying to do with it??? I deep fry sweet potato in it sometimes at 180°C!

 

https://www.google.fr/search?q=smoke+point+of+olive+oil&oq=smoke+point+of+olive+oil&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i65j69i60l3.3294j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8


Chris Ward

http://eatsleepcookschool.wordpress.com

I wrote a book about learning to cook in the South of France: http://mybook.to/escs

 

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45 minutes ago, Chris Ward said:

Really? Wikipedia says it's 207°C, 405°F

 

Without getting into the reliability of Wkipedia, 207°C, 405°F is relatively low.

I regularly use rice bran oil (unless I particularly want the olive oil taste) which has a smoking point around 490ºF. Other oils go higher.

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2 minutes ago, Chris Ward said:

180 is about as high as i'd ever go with any oil. What are you doing with yours, defending your castle and pouring it over the invaders?

When you brush oil on foods before grilling them, you need something with a high boiling point, and olive oil would be a poor choice...

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I'm still wondering what your 'high heat' applications are. I checked McGee, he has olive oil about the same as sunflower oil for frying.

Perhaps, as I say, you have big castles and serfs to repulse with boiling oil.

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Chris Ward

http://eatsleepcookschool.wordpress.com

I wrote a book about learning to cook in the South of France: http://mybook.to/escs

 

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How about searing fish, or some meats?

 

How about a high sear for mushrooms (as high as your pan goes - want to see some serious smoke?  Toss in some olive oil!)

 

Surprised that you need to ask the question.  Perhaps your mind is  too ensconced with medieval castles and their defenses at the moment!

 

McGee is comparing sunflower oil to Extra Light (not virgin) Olive Oil, which is not something you will find in my kitchen, at least.  

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I use my flavoured oils for delicate applications such as salad dressings or as a finishing oil.  I feel ones gets the full flavour of the oil using it this way.

 

Funny, I made some basil oil just as this thread was started.  I blanched  my leaves then dried really well.  They were blended with just plain olive oil and some grape seed oil.  I find by using a more neutral oil , rather than a fruity OO, the flavour of the basil comes through more.  I strained the oil though a fine strainer twice and it is in the fridge for a few days and then I will put it through a coffee filter to get the oil clear.

 

the blanching helps to kill bacteria and keeps the leaves green.

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How long do you suppose it can be safely kept in the fridge? Not generally afraid of this kind of thing but have been traumatized by all the scare-talk about botulism in infused oil.

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Okanagan - curious about why you drain out the blended basil leaves?

 

Nyleve - we have been making oils for years (primarily Ramp) and freeze them - we are still enjoying the '15 vintage.  In the fridge it will last for 6-8 weeks easily.

 

I agree about not using olive oil for this, but rather a more neutral flavored one.

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I strain the oil so I end up with a nice clear green oil.  I use the strained out basil in a salad dressing.

I freeze the oil that I cannot use within a few days.  Most of the food safety experts recommend against keeping home made infused oils longer due to the danger of botulism.  Here is a quote from Colorado University website.

"Herbs may be added to vinegar or oil and used in the seasoning of salads and sauces. It is important to store homemade herb infused oils in the refrigerator and use within four days because they have the potential to support the growth of Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Commercially made herb/oil mixtures are often stored at room temperature but this is because of special processing or acidification steps. Always check the label before storing."

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I fully agree with @Okanagancook 's comment above. If you want to be really safe you can acidify the herbs as described here: http://extension.uidaho.edu/owyhee/files/2013/10/PNW664-Making-Garlic-and-Herb-Infused-Oils-at-Home.pdf

 

 

 

 

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If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero

But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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10 hours ago, ElainaA said:

I fully agree with @Okanagancook 's comment above. If you want to be really safe you can acidify the herbs as described here: http://extension.uidaho.edu/owyhee/files/2013/10/PNW664-Making-Garlic-and-Herb-Infused-Oils-at-Home.pdf

 

 

 

 

Yup, definitely if you're keeping them for any time at all. Mine usually goes within a day or two and it's always in the fridge.

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Chris Ward

http://eatsleepcookschool.wordpress.com

I wrote a book about learning to cook in the South of France: http://mybook.to/escs

 

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