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How to Infuse Your Own Olive Oil [Video]

An assortment of cooking oils is one key sign of a skilled chef, and herb or spice infused olive oils can elevate the taste of a dish to a much higher level. But why spend top dollar on pre-made oil infusions when you can make your own – easily, and exactly to your taste? In this video, Chris Tavano explains the process for making two different infused oils sure to save you time and money – at home or at work!

Thanks to Bar Lilly at The Broker Inn.

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Video Transcription:

Hello and welcome. I’m Chris Tavano for Tundra Restaurant Supply. We’re here in the kitchen of Bar Lilly at the Broker Inn in Boulder, Colorado. Today we’re going to show you how to make some infused flavored oils with some herbs and peppers.

We’re infusing two kinds of olive oil today, or two different flavors. We’re going to have a garlic and chili pepper one with a red jalapeno and a Serrano pepper and some peppercorns. Yes, jalapenos can get red. Every pepper starts off green and goes to the red shades. It’s just a matter of when you pick then; that’s why you often see green. We’ve got a red jalapeno and a Serrano pepper. The second oil we’re going to make is an herb-infused oil with some fresh garden-picked rosemary as well as thyme, some peppercorns, and a clove of garlic.

First off I’m going to start with the chili peppers. I just slit them open, right in half, so that way you can get the nice seeds and all that capsaicin, all that nice hot spice. Throw in your peppercorns and a little bit of garlic.

The reason why we’re doing this in a pot is because you’re going to want to steep this oil. You’re going to want to bring it up to about a temperature of 300 to 350 degrees, and then you want sit there for about ten minutes. Just like tea of coffee, you’re going to want the actual perishable ingredients to steep for a couple minutes, so that way we don’t incur any kind of botulism or food-spoiling later on down the line.

We’re pulling our peppers off the flame right now. One thing to notice is: you don’t necessarily want to fry your peppers in the garlic. You don’t want them to start turning brown and getting crispy. You really just want them to steep like you do coffee beans or tea leaves. You just want to bring the heat out of it and infuse the flavor into the oil.

From here, what I’m going to do now it get our peppers in our jar. We have our nice little funnel, and careful, this is hot oil; you don’t want to splash yourself too much. Got our nice chili oil … boom.

Once that cools down to room temperature. You can store it on your shelf for up to 30 days or in the fridge for up to 90 days.

We let our herbs steep in the oil over a flame for five, ten minutes at about 300 to 350 degrees. Again, you’re not necessarily trying to fry your herbs; you’re just trying to steep them. You don’t want them to get all crispy and brown and really sizzle; you just want to get the flavor and the essence and the aroma out of the herbs and into the oil. A nice philosophy to think about is: once you smell your herbs or your chili peppers, that’s a good time to pull it off.

From here this one’s a little bit trickier, just because we’ve got the herbs to deal with. It’s just a little trickier getting it into the actual bottle. Careful using your fingers because that could be really hot.

The biggest reason why we’re just not straining this and discarding the herbs or the chili peppers is really, honestly, for presentation mostly. Once you’ve let it steep at temperature for a good five to ten minutes without frying, you’ve gotten all the flavor from the herbs or the peppers. What you’re really want to do now is … we’re using these nice, ornate Tablecraft oil cruets and bottles, so you might as well just go the route of presentation and throw the herbs in there as well.

Some other nice bottles you could see using, that I personally like, especially at home, and the Tablecraft Gemelli style. These ones are nice because they’ve just got a nice curvature shape to it, so it’s a little bit more unique to what you put in one. Again, if you’re in a restaurant and you’re really cruising through the day, you could always just put in a Tablecraft wide-mouth squeeze bottle; works just as nice. Great for a finishing oil, if you want to decorate the plate.

Here’s a couple infused oils that you could possibly make, the herb and the chili pepper. However, also keep in mind your options are limitless. You could do anything from sun-dried tomatoes to chives to shallots to basil, to anything that you can think of that has some sort of flavor or innate flavor that you want to bring out and put onto something else through your oil. That’s exactly what could do for infused oils.

Just always remember: steep it, because that’s what’s going to enhance the most essence of flavor as well as keep yourself free of any kind of botulism.

Obviously there other practical uses for olive oil around your kitchen. You could use it for a moisturizer for your butcher block. You can use it for a polish on your stainless steel. Have you ever had those squeaky hinges on your refrigerator or your ovens? Use it as grease; it’s a great application for that as well as other home remedies for moisturizing your skin, washing your hair. All those kinds of things are great for olive oil.

As well, the last thing that we’re going to segue into, one of our next videos coming up this winter, is salad dressings and emulsifications; that’s probably biggest thing you’ll see with olive oils.

I’m Chris Tavano for Tundra Restaurant Supply, joining you from the kitchen of Bar Lilly at the Broker Inn in Boulder, Colorado. Here’s to a better mise en place.

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