Vanilla-Infused Olive Oil Is About To Be Your New Favorite Meal Topper

Olive oil, olives, and vanilla flower
Olive oil, olives, and vanilla flower - racool_studio/Shutterstock

Whether you're marinating olives or adding a generous drizzle atop some creamy homemade hummus, olive oil is a versatile, nutrient-dense, must-have kitchen staple that enhances many dishes. Although plain extra virgin olive oil is timeless, flavor-infused olive oil can add subtle depth to your favorite recipes. While you may immediately think of EVOO infusions made with savory ingredients such as garlic or jalapeño, vanilla-infused olive oil is a culinary secret weapon.

Vanilla is often dismissed as a bland flavor. But contrary to popular belief, it's dripping with complexity. Unless you're an expert, it's easy to associate vanilla with just one flavor compound -- vanillin. This singular (albeit tasty) molecule is frequently mimicked and used in imitation vanilla products, but is only 1% of vanilla's true flavor. If you look beyond the basics, you'll find that pure vanilla contains 250 flavor compounds spanning floral, woody, smoky, and spicy notes. When these nuanced flavor profiles are introduced to the bright, grassy, and peppery taste of olive oil, out comes a sophisticated meal topper that's equal parts approachable and avant-garde.

There's no denying that vanilla-kissed olive oil is an uncommon kitchen ingredient, but you'd be surprised to discover just how many dishes it suits, both sweet and savory; a delicious novelty that's customizable to boot. What's not to love?

Read more: 14 Liquids To Add To Scrambled Eggs (And What They Do)

Making Homemade Vanilla Olive Oil

Whole and crushed vanilla beans
Whole and crushed vanilla beans - rudigints/Shutterstock

Vanilla-infused olive oil is available for purchase at various online retailers, and you may have luck finding it at a specialty grocery outlet or farmer's market. However, if you strike out in the supermarket and don't want to wait on a mail shipment, you can make vanilla olive oil at home with two simple ingredients: vanilla and olive oil.

For starters, consider the two main olive oil flavor infusion methods. Cold infusions involve steeping vanilla beans in olive oil at room temperature, turning occasionally, for up to two weeks until it develops your ideal flavor intensity. Heated infusions, on the other hand, are gently heated at 140 degrees Fahrenheit for about five minutes before it's strained (or not, it's up to you!) and ready to serve once it cools. Be careful, though: Overheating olive oil can degrade its naturally vibrant flavors, so monitor its temperature with a thermometer if you opt for a quick, heated infusion.

Store vanilla-infused olive oil in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life. Because light can debase the quality of the oil, store it in a dark-colored container to protect it from light degradation.

Uses For Vanilla-Infused Olive Oil

Olive oil cake and olive oil
Olive oil cake and olive oil - kathringabriel/Shutterstock

If you've never worked with (or even heard of) this infused cooking oil, you may need suggestions for putting it to good use. Don't worry, there's no shortage of options. Because it bolsters its lush texture and generates whispers of umami through its dessert-forward flavor, olive oil is the unexpected secret to irresistible ice cream. But don't just use regular olive oil; top it with your new and improved vanilla olive oil to develop an ultra-fatty consistency that's rich, creamy, and accented by a delicately grassy sweetness. Not in the mood for ice cream? Use vanilla olive oil to add depth to plain, one-dimensional Greek yogurt.

For total EVOO inception, top a slice of olive oil cake with your vanilla-infused provision. Moist, bright, and buttery, this vanilla olive oil-topped cake is teeming with complex flavors while maintaining an air of simplicity. If cake isn't your thing, use vanilla-infused olive oil to jazz up a stack of French toast and give it a silky, flavorful edge that swings between glacé and grassy.

Surprisingly, vanilla olive oil stands up to savory recipes just as much as sweet ones. Drizzle it over roasted, caramelized veggies to give them an added depth of sweetness and warmth; incorporate it into salad dressings to provide a medley of earthy greens with a touch of cozy sweetness; or drizzle it over a crostini topped with bruschetta, cured meat, arugula, and fruit for a charcuterie-inspired snack you won't forget any time soon.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.