Sunday, June 29, 2014

Garden Herb Oil

Some very good friends of ours own a wonderful Sicilian restaurant here in the San Francisco East Bay where they serve an amazingly delicious condiment at the table with bread - olive oil with steeped herbs. With our garden now busting with herbs as we come into the height of the growing season, it's imperative that I make some for our own home-cooked meals. Almost any combination of fresh herbs will work but this is the set of ingredients I usually go with.

3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
leaves from a branch of rosemary
1/4 cup basil leaves
leaves from several twigs of thyme
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
couple of twists of fresh-cracked black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a mortar, pound the garlic with a pinch of salt until a paste. Add the parsley leaves, rosemary leaves, basil leaves, and thyme leaves, a herb at a time, into the mortar pounding until a paste forms. Add the red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper then a tablespoon of the oil to further combine.

(alternately, if you don't have a mortar and pestle, just chop everything finely together before adding the oil)

Add the paste to a Mason jar then the remainder of the olive oil and allow it all to steep for at least 24 hours before using. I find that it will last at least of couple of weeks but we almost always use it up before then.

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