This is a wonderful method of preserving the fresh summery vitality of basil. If you have a basil plant growing in your yard, or you just love the taste of basil and it is in plentiful supply at the greengrocer, then this super easy condiment is for you. It is not a flavoured oil as such, but more of a basil puree, preserved in oil.

Basil oil shares a little bit in common with the wonderful Italian sauce, pesto. They are both methods of capturing the essence of basil, and they are both rich, basil-flavoured sauces that can be used to enliven dishes. But as delicious as pesto is, it contains the twin flavour forces of parmesan cheese and pine nuts. This can limit the application of pesto to certain dishes.

Next time try making a simple basil oil instead. I have recently been mixing equal quantities of basil oil and roasted tomato dressing, which makes a superb dressing for grilled fish, and basil oil drizzled on a simple salad of tomato and bocconcini cheese is a match made in heaven.


  • 1 bunch of basil (about 2 cups)
  • 250 ml (1 cup) olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 Tbs red wine vinegar (or use balsamic vinegar)
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Method

    Pick the leaves from the bunch of basil. Wash well and dry in a salad spinner, or pat dry with a tea towel. Add to a cocktail style blender, rather than a food processor if possible, as it will help to retain the vibrant green colour, along with the oil, garlic and vinegar. Whizz until finely pureed. Add the salt and pepper and whizz again. Taste to see if it has been correctly seasoned.

    Tip into a clean jar or bowl and cover with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent oxidization. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

    Nobody here, I'm sure would know, that duen's real name is Basil. It's an excellent name too! Well, thinking about it, on this node, I am forced to ponder..may I possibly at times be exuding this wonderful basil oil myself..?

    The juices, the grime, the oils of sweat...little perspiration beads that just ooze out of the tiny pores on my skin..the tiny pores of my (hair?), and imagine this all layer of silky oily liquid, warm and fluid, just laying there on the surface of my body, mixing in with the sediments of dirt trapped from the day, like puree, and then, with a tight slow swiping pulling sticking drag of an enveloping palm or both palms, pushing effectively the dirt-engulfed now molten layer, away, downwards, or outwards..leaving the path passed as clean as could be, pushing the afore-mentioned layer like folding sedimentary mountains, and then, with a nice thorough pluck with both hands, or good clean swipe, get this Basil puree into a nice good transparent jar or bowl. Later to be added to salad, other vegetables or pasta.

    I do particularly like the reference to the "fresh summery vitality of basil." Thank you. "If you have a basil plant growing in your yard," or like my family, a basil growing in the home, be sure to remember that I "can be used to enliven", once you know the "methods of capturing the essence of basil".

    I would like to offer my apologies or gratitude to sneff for quoting from him.

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