Blooming herbs and spices in olive oil develops a depth of flavor that can’t be matched. We keep a jar of the herbes de Provence version on hand for cooking scrambled or fried eggs at breakfast. Using a za’atar version in the vinaigrette for Mediterranean Grain Salad will transport tastebuds to far off lands. See suggestions following recipe for other uses.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ⅓ cup dried Herbs or a blend such as Herbes de Provence, Middle Eastern Za’atar, Italian Seasoning or Greek Seasoning
  • OR 1 cup chopped fresh Herbs (any combination of Basil, Parsley, Oregano, Tarragon, Rosemary, Thyme, Cilantro, Savory and Sage)
  • 1 tablespoon coarse (kosher) Salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground Black Pepper or Red Chilli Flakes
  • 1 ½ teaspoons granulated Garlic or 5 to 6 fresh cloves, minced

Preparation

  1. Warm 2 cups of olive oil on a low heat until just warm to the touch (about 100 degrees F). Add ⅓ cup dried herbs or 1 cup of chopped fresh herbs . Add the salt, pepper and garlic. Stir together, turn off heat and cover, allowing it to steep for 12 hours.
  2. After the first steep, warm the oil as before, stir, turn off heat, cover pan and let steep for another 12 hours.
  3. After the second steeping period, strain the oil and store it in a glass container in the refrigerator.

Uses

Mix herbes de Provence or za’atar versions in plain hummus.

Use any version with chevre (soft goat cheese) or softened cream cheese for a cheese spread for crackers or crostini.

But wait, there’s more! Don’t discard the herbs and spices once you’ve separated them from the oil. Keep the pulpy mash in a container in the refrigerator for coating root veggies before roasting, spreading on toasty bread or adding to popcorn after popping.