Olive oil can be infused with flavours by using fresh or dried spices, garlic, hot peppers, peel from citrus fruits or aromatic plants.
The olive oil needs to be of a good quality and of low acidity and so that it can absorb the scents of the herbs, spices etc and should not have its own strong smell. The best type of olive oil to use is extra virgin olive oil which will give great results.
Bottles to be used for storage should be clean and dry as also should any aromatic plants which are to be used. Once filled with Olive oil the bottles should not be left in the sun but kept in dark and cool places.
Scented oil can serve as a lovely starter when on small dried rusks or bread. It is the best substitute for butter and contains no cholesterol. It can also be added to salads, boiled vegetables, roasted meat or fish, rice, potatoes, pastry and also used as a basic ingredient of sauces. Slices of bread drizzled with scented olive oil, such as rosemary, garlic or hot pepper can be browned in the oven or under the grill.
Naturally olive oil has an array of smells, but by using different aromatic plants a choice of scent can be made. It is quite a good idea to have several bottles of scented olive oil made to be used for different purposes.
To quickly scent the olive oil heat the aromatic plants in a small amount of olive oil, then filter through a clean cloth and add to the main body of the oil.
Olive oil with aromatic plants
If using only one plant place 2 -3 sprigs washed and dried in a bottle with two cups of olive oil. Store the bottle in a cool dark place for about 10 days before using it. The plants can be left in the bottle to add to the scent visually but do not leave for too long as they can spoil the oil. Threfore it is better to remove the plants once the olive oil is scented. Olive oil scented with mint, parsley, fennel or dill is very successful.
Olive oil scented with basil
In a bottle put 3-4 sprigs of basil along with 2 cloves of garlic. Add 2 cups of extra virgin olive oil and cap the bottle tightly. The oil will be ready in about 10 days. Olive oil with basil goes perfectly with uncooked vegetables and goes well in tomato sauces and is superb for dunking pieces of bread. Drizzle over tomatoes topped with feta cheese!
Olive oil scented with oregano
In a bottle place 2 -3 sprigs of fresh
oregano with 2 cups of olive oil, cap the bottle tightly and store in a cool dark cupboard and it will be ready after 10 days.
Olive oil with garlic and rosemary
In a bottle add 2 cups of olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, a sprig of fresh rosemary and half a dozen peppercorns. Cap the bottle tightly and store in a cool dark cupboard for about 10 days, particularly good with roast potatoes, lamb or fish.
See also How to preserve olives