- 100 g fresh basil sprigs
- 150 ml olive oil
- Pick the leaves from the basil and then blanch them in a large pan of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain in a sieve and then rinse under cold running water to prevent them from cooking any further. Squeeze off any excess water and then tip on to kitchen paper and pat dry.
- Place the blanched basil leaves into a food processor or liquidiser with the olive oil and blitz to a very fine puree, scraping down the sides of the container once or twice. Pass the puree through the sieve set over a jug or bowl, pressing down with the back of a ladle or wooden spoon until all of the liquid has gone through the sieve. Pour the herb oil into a squeezy bottle and leave to settle for at least 30 minutes to clear before using as required.
- This is obviously the perfect oil to drizzle over a tomato salad or a plate of warm pasta, but it is also very good to use for the initial sweating of onions for a tomato soup or sauce.
- Alternatively, use it to garnish plates or soups and let your guests inhale the scent before they eat. I find it best to make this in small quantities and aim to use it within a given time - say three months on the outside.
- Choose any soft herb that you fancy or experiment with a selection. For instance, I find that a mixture of dill, chives and flat-leaf parsley works very well with fish dishes.