Drizzle this herb-infused vinegar over a salad of fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, or use it as a dipping sauce. Other herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, or tarragon, can be used in place of the basil. Look for long-necked glass vinegar bottles with tight-fitting corks or screw caps.
Have ready a clean, large nonreactive bowl.
Thoroughly rinse the basil leaves and then pat dry with paper towels. Roughly chop the leaves. In a nonreactive saucepan over low heat, warm the vinegar until hot but not yet simmering; do not let it boil. Remove from the heat. Place the basil, garlic, and lemon zest, if using, in the bowl. Pour in the hot vinegar and stir to combine. Set aside to cool. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2–4 weeks; the longer the vinegar stands, the stronger the flavor will be. Gently stir the vinegar every few days to blend the flavors.
Have ready hot, sterilized bottles.
Strain the vinegar through a fine-mesh sieve and then through a coffee filter. Using a funnel, pour the filtered vinegar into the bottles. Cover tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 months.
© 2012 All rights reserved. Published by Weldon Owen.