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Chili-Lemon Olive Oil

Combine good-quality extra-virgin olive oil with fresh herbs, spices and citrus of your choice to create a delicious infusion. Toss flavored olive oils with a green salad, drizzle on tomatoes or grilled vegetables, or use as a dipping sauce for crusty bread.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large lemons
  • 3 or 4 dried whole chilies
  • 1 bay leaf

Directions:

Have ready a hot, sterilized bottle.

Pour the olive oil into a small nonreactive saucepan. Working directly over the pan, grate the zest from the lemons, letting it fall into the oil. Add the chilies and bay leaf. Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan. Heat the oil over medium-low heat until the thermometer registers 200ºF, then cook at 200º to 225ºF for 10 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Using a funnel, pour the oil into the bottle. Cover tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 months. Makes 1 pint.

Note: To make orange-rosemary oil, substitute the zest from 1 orange for the lemon zest and 3 fresh rosemary sprigs, rinsed and patted dry, for the chilies.

Adapted from The Art of Preserving, by Lisa Atwood, Rebecca Courchesne & Rick Field (Weldon Owen, 2010).