Multi-Purpose Herb Oil
My guess is that you will use this more than any other specialty topping, and you can make as much as you like because it will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator. Its original use was for focaccia but then I discovered it is also excellent drizzled over many types of pizza, and can also be used to marinate or flavor various ingredients, especially fresh, sliced tomatoes and thinly sliced potatoes (for potato parmesan focaccia or, even better, potato bacon focaccia (or pizza). I’ll give directions for making those in a future posting, as well as for my favorite herb oil clam pizza. I also use the herb oil as a bread dipping condiment, and even as a base for salad dressings. There are an infinite number of ways to make this, using both fresh and dried herbs in many combinations,
so consider the following recipe merely a starting point until you create your own favorite combination.
Note: This version calls for dried herbs because they are available year round, but the herb oil is also fantastic with fresh herbs when you have them on hand, especially from your own herb gardens. If substituting fresh herbs for dried, use 4 times as much (1 teaspoon dried = 4 teaspoons fresh, finely chopped).
2 cups olive oil (extra virgin not required)
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh or dried rosemary needles
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
(or 10 cloves fresh garlic, pressed and lightly sautéed in ½ cup olive oil)
1 tablespoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon paprika, hot or mild, smoked or unsmoked (optional)
Method of Preparation:
Whisk all the ingredients together and let the oil sit at room temperature for two hours before using it. Store it in the refrigerator.
Use it wherever herbed oil is called for.
Note: Use whole leaf dried herbs, not powdered herbs. If you’d prefer to use fresh herbs, use 4 times more than the dried herbs, by volume (except the rosemary, which remains the same), mince them, and stir into the olive oil immediately to prevent oxidation.
To Use: Marinate sliced tomatoes, potatoes, clams for one hour in enough herb oil to coat them. Bake on top of focaccia and pizzas. OR, use as the sole topping for focaccia, drizzling and the dimpling an appropriate amount into the top of the dough when the dough is pressed out to fill the pan (about 1/4 cup will cover a small half sheet pan focaccia (9″ X 13″); 1/2 cup for a full sheet pan focaccia). Let the focaccia rise with the herb oil already dimpled in, rather than waiting till just before baking it.
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