Waste not, want not: We strive to live by this mantra in the Tasting Table Test Kitchen, be it by repurposing a stockpile of kimchi pickling liquid into cocktail sauce or turning leftover coffee into ice pops. When a special event or a week of heavy recipe testing leaves us with an overflowing bin of herbs, you better believe we’re putting them to use. An herb oil is an ideal way to harness that surfeit, whether fresh-picked from your garden (or grocery store) or rescued from the bottom of your crisper. For this version we use basil, but you can add any tender herb in tandem or in lieu of sweet basil like cilantro, tarragon or chives. Use the flavored oil to boost a vinaigrette, give roasted vegetables a lift, spoon it over oozy burrata or even drizzle over a scoop of strawberry gelato.
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 1 cup
Cook Time: 5 minutes
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
¾ cup grapeseed or canola oil
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. Fill a medium bowl with ice and water and set next to the stovetop.
2. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the basil leaves. Once they have just wilted, about 5 to 10 seconds, use a slotted spoon or skimmer to transfer the basil leaves to the ice water. Once cool, place the leaves in a folded kitchen towel or a few paper towels and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
3. Place the basil leaves in a blender and add ½ cup of the grapeseed oil. Blend until roughly chopped, then, with the blender running, add the remaining grapeseed and olive oil and purée until completely smooth.
4. Strain into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to one week.