Infuse Olive Oil With Lemons For The Ultimate Zesty Drizzle

Infused olive oils and lemons
Infused olive oils and lemons - Gspictures/Getty Images

Infused olive oils are nothing new, perching prettily in upscale kitchen stores, stuffed with either fresh herbs or soaked in aromatic extractions of rosemary, chilis, basil, garlic, and countless other flavorings. What may be less common is the idea that you can infuse your own olive oils at home using simple grocery-store ingredients, including the ever-present perky lemon. In less than an hour, you'll have your own custom-infused oil, one you can replenish whenever the need arises. Nothing fancy, everything delicious.

Citrus is a universal flavoring agent for a wide array of foods, making lemons a viable olive oil companion for ultimate zesty drizzles. It works on everything from salads to sauces, dressings, vegetables, or sizzling up stir-fries or sauteed meats. For infusing, you won't be using the juice of the lemons, but the zest, and it's important to properly prep them. Select two regular or Myer lemons per 1 cup of olive oil, and make sure they're washed and dried to avoid introducing contaminants or moisture into the oil.

Then comes the zesting, but toss out preconceptions of what that means. The goal isn't grated bits of lemon but long, thin strips of the outer yellow peel, sans the bitter white-ish pith underneath. Then, simply heat the lemon zest and olive oil in a saucepan for about 15 minutes, on low heat, avoiding bubbling or overheating. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, remove the zesty peels, and transfer your new lemon-infused olive oil to a stoppered bottle.

Read more: The 20 Best Olive Oils For Cooking

Using And Storing Lemon-Infused Olive Oil

Pouring olive oil over salad
Pouring olive oil over salad - Laurent Renault/Shutterstock

It's worth noting that different types of olive oils bring their own characteristics to infused oils. Since lemons harbor a bright, citrusy flavor, consider a light olive oil with neutral tones. While extra-virgin olive oil, often referred to as EVOO, may be great for smoky pepper or earthy spice infusions, its complexity could overwhelm the lemony notes you're aiming for. You want that subtle citrus zing when dipping fresh ciabatta rounds into the fragrant oil, or when drizzling it over a potato pesto salad or snappy green haricots verts.

Like olive oil on its own, infused versions remain fresh for a while with proper care. Storing infused olive oils requires refrigeration to prevent bacteria accumulation and food-borne illnesses. It generally remains fresh for several weeks or even up to a year in the refrigerator, especially if you've carefully strained out all remnants of the lemon zest. When on the countertop or table for immediate use, avoid direct sunlight. Choose glass containers when possible, and make sure the bottle or jar is well-sealed after each use.

Read the original article on Tasting Table