Rosemary-chill oil

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

Appears in

The Café Paradiso Cookbook

The Café Paradiso Cookbook

By Denis Cotter

Published 1999

  • About

Method

We make this in a way much closer to ‘proper’ Infusion. Rinse and dry a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and a few whole dried chillies - those large, red, mildish ones are good for this but if you want more heat use the tiny Thai ‘bird’s eye’ or even a ‘habanero’ if you can find one. Put them into a litre of good olive oil put the lid on and leave it for a couple of days. The flavours will get stronger for a few days, then level off. The oil will hold the flavour for ages, you can even top it up as the level goes down, but after a couple of weeks there will be nothing more to take from the rosemary and chillies, so take them out. This method also works very well with sprigs of thyme.

This is a much less multi-purpose oil than the basil, because of the two very individual and dominating flavours in it. They get on beautifully together and with olive oil, but after that you need to be careful where you let them go. It is excellent as a bread dip or a pasta sauce for tomatoes, aubergines, kale, onions (not necessarily all together), and brilliant with goats’ cheese or eggs. There is a recipe for a roasted garlic-rosemary aioli which is, for the ones who love those flavours, the most heavenly dip for dunking into with whatever is to hand - raw vegetables, fried fritters, bread, cold potatoes late at night...