Basil or Chervil Oil

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:

    1 quart

Appears in


By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

Basil and chervil have delicate flavors that infuse quickly into the surrounding oil. The herbs can be chopped in a blender or food processor, but they should not be processed for too long or the moisture contained in the herbs will emulsify with the oil and the finished oil will be cloudy.


fresh basil leaves (6 large bunches) or fresh chervil (15 large bunches) 6 tightly packed cups or 6 ightly packed cups 1.4 L or 1.4 L
extra-virgin olive oil cups 1.1 L


  1. Wash and dry the herbs.
  2. Sprinkle the herbs with 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) of the olive oil to prevent them from turning dark, and chop them finely by hand or chop them not too finely in a blender or food processor. If using a blender or food processor, add enough of the olive oil to help the herbs to circulate, but don’t use more oil than necessary.
  3. Combine the chopped herbs with the rest of the olive oil and allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Alternatively, cook the herb-oil mixture sous vide at 140°F (60°C) for 3 hours.
  4. Strain through a fine chinois, or a strainer lined with a triple layer of cheesecloth. Don’t push on the herbs in the strainer because too much moisture will be extracted. Instead, let the oil drain through naturally, for about an hour. This oil keeps for up to 2 weeks in a cool place.