Fresh herbs and olive oil, blitzed and strained to produce a clear, fragrant, Christmassy-green oil, is the fastest, smartest, brightest way to add instant colour and flavour to festive eating. European chefs are mad for it, and local chefs have their own love affairs with particular herb oils, from Asian basil to sorrel.
It's easy to make at home - and it's best to do a large amount than a small, so go for broke.
DIY HERB OIL
2 bunches flat-leaf parsley or basil
150ml extra-virgin olive oil
100ml grapeseed oil
Sea salt and pepper
To make the herb oil, chop off and discard the heavier stalks, leaving you with about 150g of leaves. Blanch the leaves for 20 seconds in a large pot of boiling water, then remove and plunge immediately into a bowl of ice-cold water.
Drain well, squeeze dry and roughly chop.
Whiz the herbs in a blender with the oils, sea salt and pepper. Strain overnight through dampened muslin or a paper coffee filter set inside a funnel (without stirring or rushing it) and use within seven days.
Drizzle over lamb, chicken or fish, or serve with a salad of mixed coloured tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, basil leaves and a scattering of cracked wheat, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes until tender and drained. Makes 300ml.
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