While the woebegone are busy arguing about the purity of most “Extra-virgin Olive Oil” brands, my wife and I are very busy eating.
“I hope they come to some consensus and that something is done about the allegations,” I say while chewing up a naan-style flatbread, drizzled in rosemary olive oil (top right), littered with chopped, fresh garlic, and sprinkled with fresh(ish) mozzarella.
Last Christmas I was looking for ideas on gifts I could make for friends. Until we do away with the ritual of gift-giving, I try to find single projects that can cover most everyone I know. Infused olive oils covered my vegan and vegetarian friends as well as others, so I ran with it.
I bought a dozen or more of these little bottles (complete with half-assed drizzle-tops) at one of those one-stop-shops for home decor and accessories, then a drum of olive oil from my local middle-eastern grocer. I had naively intended on using my own fresh herbs. No way, Jose. Unless you want to send some ticking time bomb of botulism or do way more work than is sensible for such an undertaking, skip that whole step.
At the same market, or possibly the local Indian grocer, I bought some herbs and got to work. I had no idea how much herb to put in there, so I guessed and in my predictable way- overdid it spectacularly. After a month of lying about and absorbing the power of the stuff at the bottom (if stuff floats don’t worry, it’ll come down eventually), it was nearly Christmas Eve and time to distribute my little flavour bombs.
Some folks got a basil infused bottle, some garlic, some rosemary. I never bothered to ask how it went down for them, since I could make the same assertions out of the batches I kept for my own kitchen.
- Err on the side of less herb, especially with basil.
- Invest in well manufactured drizzle-top thingies.
Such as they were, I think I got 15 small drizzlers out to friends and family, kept 4, and the whole project cost less than $50.
Result: my wife and I love them, and our own stock of bottles has become a permanent fixture in our kitchen. It’s a cheap, fast project, with a big reward.
How have you used infused olive oils? What interesting flavours have you made?
Feel free to share your suggestions and ideas in the comments section!