Lemon Oil

Yield: about 1 quart

Lemon Oil, with its infusion of citrus, is lighter in flavor than olive oil. It can be used to add a tart, summery character to salads or almost anything else that you would drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil, and sealed tightly and stored in a cool, dry place. Don't use olive oil to make this; the wonderful flavor of an extra-virgin olive oil should stand on its own and should not interfere with the fresh citrus flavor of Lemon Oil. This is an oil for vinaigrettes and seasoning, not cooking, as the delicate lemon flavor disappears when this oil is subjected to high heat of sautˇing.

  • 1 quart vegetable oil (almond or sunflower)
  • 2 lemons, cut in half
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 small dried Chile pepper

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine the vegetable oil, lemon halves, bay leaf, peppercorns, and Chile, and heat just until the lemons begin to produce small bubbles in the oil. It is important that the oil does not become too hot--never above a very low simmer--as the lemons will produce a bitter flavor in the oil. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the oil and lemon mixture to cool, about 1 hour. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 12 hours.

The using a fine-mesh, stainless-steel strainer, strain the oil into a clean container with a tightly fitting lid. Discard the lemon halves and herbs, reserving, the lemon-infused oil. Store the oil in a tightly sealed container for up to 1 month, and use as needed.

Recipe from Mark Peel & Nancy Silverton's The Food of Campanile
© 1997 by Mark Peel & Nancy Silverton. All rights reserved