Flavor-infused oils are an easy, affordable way to add subtle flavor to a variety of dishes. Use them to dress up salads, roasted vegetables, grilled chicken or fish. Add new depth to your soups or a dash of flavor to your mashed potatoes. Or simply use them as a dipping oil for chunks of Sprouts Artisan Bread. As you can see, the possibilities are endless!
We recommend using canola oil because it’s inexpensive with a neutral flavor base. Olive oil has its own pungent flavor that tends to cover up the flavors of certain herbs. Although canola oil is called for in the recipes below, corn, peanut or expeller-pressed grapeseed will also work well.
Blanch two cups of fresh basil in a large pot of boiling water. Submerge the basil leaves in the boiling water for about 10–15 seconds until they’re just wilted. Remove them and plunge them into the bowl of ice water. Drain the leaves and pat them dry with paper towels to remove as much water as possible. Place the basil in a blender along with one cup of oil. Blend on high speed until it is pureed. At this point, you can use the basil oil as is. Or if desired, you can strain it through a fine mesh-sieve.
Cook one cup olive oil with 5–6 rosemary sprigs in a small saucepan over medium heat, for about five minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Transfer the sprigs to a bottle, then add the oil and seal. Refrigerate up to one month. (Tasty tip: Drizzle over a bowl of popcorn for a special gourmet flair!)
Combine two cups of olive oil and four teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat for about five minutes. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature, about two hours. Transfer the oil and pepper flakes to a 4-oz. bottle. Seal the lid and refrigerate.
Wash 1/2 cup fresh thyme and ensure that it is thoroughly dried. (Any water left in the herbs can promote microbial growth.) Lightly muddle the thyme to release more of the herb’s natural oils and strengthen the infusion. Combine the muddled thyme and one cup of olive oil in a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until it steadily bubbles for at least five minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. Pour into a clean bottle and refrigerate immediately.
Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
Warm one cup of olive oil and the peel from two Meyer lemons over very low heat for 20 minutes. Allow cooling for 30 minutes. Strain and pour into a clean bottle and refrigerate immediately.