1/2 pound ripe tomatoes
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cups packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
two 2 x 1-inch strips lemon zest
- First step: Go buy new olive oil. I can almost guarantee that yours is rancid. People keep this stuff around for years, but you should really try to use it up in under six months. Store it in a cool, dark place. If olive oil is stored in sunlight it will go rancid very quickly.
- Prep the tomatoes: Slice the tomatoes in half crosswise (through the equator) and squeeze out the seeds. Over a large bowl rub the cut sides of the tomatoes across a metal grater so that the flesh is coarsely grated but the skin remains intact. Discard Skin
- Heat the oil and the flavorings together: Combine the tomatoes, oil, basil, garlic, and pepper flakes in a medium pan. Heat over low heat until tiny bubbles form around the herbs. Reduce heat to very low and cook 3 to 4 minutes longer. Stir in lemon zest.
- Infuse, then strain: Remove from the heat and let infuse for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight before using. Strain and spoon off any juices into a clean, dry jar.
I want to try this again sometime, but maybe use more aromatic herbs. The books suggests Parsley, Thyme, Rosemary, Bay leaf oil - so that may be a start. This is the kind of thing that you can really experiment a lot with.