Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Basil Oil

I made basil oil again today. It has got to be one of the most pain-in-the-butt “ingredient” I have to make. Actually everything is a pain in the butt to make, I now have a much much better understanding as to why everything we serve is so expensive (aside from the famous view)! First I had to pick a ridiculous amount of basil, on which I found a caterpillar happily munching away on a leaf (gross). Then it has to be blanched. Then shocked in an ice bath. Then put in a blender until it cooks and steams. Then shocked again. Then drained in a chinois (a very fine conical sieve) for the rest of eternity. I had the idiotic misfortune of overfilling the chinois and had to start all over again. ARG!! The result? A beautiful, rich and verdant oil.
Okay, tip for anyone that has to blanch multiple (or even one) batch of greens. Grab a large pot of water, salt it and heat it until it boils. Find a basket that will fit into the pot, so that when the greens are added, they are resting in the pot and do not need to be fished out with tongs or a skimmer. Then have an ice bath ready, that is large enough to fit the basket. When you’re done shocking the greens, lift the basket out of the water and squeeze dry. This method saves sooooo much time, because you don’t have to dig around the pot with tongs and don’t have to freeze your hands unnecessarily in the ice bath.

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