My basil plant which has been throwing out beautiful leaf upon beautiful leaf throughout the summer is starting to look a little unhappy about the shift in temperature. What to do with its delicious leaves and best preserve the natural flavour for as long as possible? This basil oil seems to be as good an answer as I can think of. It’s really simple to make and delicious on a mozarella and tomato salad, stirred into pasta at the end of cooking or pretty much any time you’d add the fresh leaves. I’m going to try a couple of other things, but this was the first that struck my fancy.
20g basil leaves, picked and rinsed
375ml olive oil
2 pared strips lemon zest
½ clove garlic
Blitz the basil in a magimix or blender and with the motor still running slowly poor in the oil. Tip into a pan and put over a medium heat for about 5 mins, this will bring out all the flavour. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 20minutes or so. Pass through a seive lined with muslin into a jug.
Stick the lemon and garlic into a sterilised bottle and poor in the basil oil. You can use it immediately, but over time it will start to pick up more of the lemon and garlic flavours – leave them out if you want a pure basil hit. It should last if kept in the fridge for up to three months.