How to Infuse Your Cooking Oils for *Maximum* Flavor
When it comes to cooking with oils, there’s a lot to keep in mind. It’s important to know which ones are healthy and which to stay away from. And when it comes to making things even more delicious, you can infuse your cooking oils with flavors you love — think herbs, aromatics, spices, and citrus. Here are a few of our favorite infusions and how to make them.
Adding the delicious flavor of garlic into your cooking oils can take your meals up a notch. We particularly recommend drizzling it over cooked pasta or an Italian salad. Simply roast a few cloves of garlic (peeled) on a baking sheet at 350 degrees until golden brown. Add them to about 1/2 a cup of your favorite oil, and heat over medium heat until small bubbles begin to form. After allowing the mixture to bubble for about five minutes, transfer it to a heat-safe bowl and allow it to cool for an hour or two. Strain it to remove the garlic pieces and you’re good to go.
Rosemary-Lemon Infused Oil
Follow the same process that we described for the garlic-infused oil, substituting a sprig of rosemary and the zest of one lemon for garlic cloves (or, get real crazy by infusing the garlic in there too!).
To infuse your cooking oils with the fresh flavors of citrus, your key ingredient is going to be the zest of the fruit. Don’t put the actual fruit juice itself into the mixture. Use one teaspoon lime, lemon, orange, or grapefruit zest per 1/2 cup of oil.
Pretty much any herb will work *beautifully* in an oil infusion. If you’re using soft herbs like basil, parsley, dill, or cilantro, simply place the herbs (stem and all) into a blender with your oil. Blend the mixture, heat on medium until small bubbles appear, allow to cool, and strain with cheesecloth or a fine sieve. If you’re going for harder herbs like rosemary, thyme, or oregano, you can skip the blending part.
No matter what infusions you’re adding, it’s important not to over-heat your cooking oil. Though oils such as coconut or avocado have high smoke points, olive oil isn’t as compatible with high heat. Heating it too high can burn the oil, making it not only unappetizing but also full of free radicals. Instead, stick to a medium temperature, and don’t allow it to fully boil.
These delicious infusions can keep for months if stored properly (in a dark, cool area inside a dark glass container), giving you a flavorful way to spice up your meals in a jiff.
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