WORK TIME: 20 Minutes / TOTAL TIME: 20 Minutes + Steeping Time / YIELD: 1 C
1. WASH and dry thoroughly 1½ c packed, lightly crushed basil, mint, tarragon, dill, or cilantro. Put the herbs in a wide-mouthed glass jar.
2. POUR in 1 c canola oil or apple-cider or wine vinegar. Close jar. Put in cool, dark place for 2 weeks. Swirl every day to keep leaves moistened.
3. DECANT the oil or vinegar into a sealable bottle through a funnel lined with several layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter to catch the leaves.
4. PRESS leaves gently to get all the liquid. Cap the bottle, and store oil in the refrigerator up to a month or vinegar in a dark cupboard indefinitely.
Don’t have the 2 weeks called for in the master recipe? Take these shortcuts:
Puree the fresh ingredients with the oil in a food processor until finely minced. Let sit 30 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth or a coffee filter and use immediately or refrigerate.
Warm (but don’t boil) the vinegar before pouring it over the fresh ingredients. Cover and steep away from light for 3 days. Strain through cheesecloth or a coffee filter and store in a dark cupboard.
Substitute any of the following for the fresh herbs in the master recipe:
Rosemary-orange (oil or vinegar): ¼ c fresh rosemary and the zest from 4 oranges, cut in strips
Jalapeno (oil or vinegar): 5 whole peppers, stems removed
Pineapplemint (vinegar): 1½ c peeled, cut-up pineapple and ½ c packed, lightly crushed mint
Peppered strawberry (vinegar): 2 tsp whole black peppercorns and 1 c sliced strawberries
Ginger-apple (vinegar): 3 slices fresh ginger and 1 c chopped apple