Herb oil

There's no need to buy expensive flavoured oils from the delicatessen they are very easy to make yourself, as Neven Maguire shows
Herb oil
  • Rating:
  • Serves: makes 225ml
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 100 g basil, or other soft-leaved herb such as chervil, chives, coriander or mint
  • 225 ml olive oil

Tips and Suggestions

The technique for making infused oil is much the same whether the ingredient is basil, rosemary, oregano, garlic, chillies, mushrooms or citrus fruit. Unfortunately tarragon does not work well except early in the spring when it is very sweet, otherwise it tends to taste bitter when infused.


1. Bring a large pan of water to a boil. Add the herbs, making sure that the leaves are submerged, and blanch for five seconds only. Drain into a strainer and immediately plunge the herbs into a bowl of iced water. Drain well and squeeze out all liquid.

2. Purée the herbs in a blender with the olive oil. Strain immediately through a fine-mesh strainer, then strain again through four layers of cheesecloth (or use brand new j-cloths).

3. Place in a sterilized glass bottle, cover tightly and chill. Use within one week for the best flavour. You can use the oil in vinaigrette or simply drizzled over a tomato salad with a splash of balsamic vinegar. It is also excellent as an ingredient in marinade for chicken, fish or Mediterranean vegetables.

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