Saturday, July 21, 2007

Part Three: Herbal Oils , Open Faced Egg and Bacon Sandwich Drizzled with Basil Oil on Toasted Basil Pesto Bread

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Michael Chiarello's book, "Casual Cooking" has a great recipe for basil and other herbal oils which are designed to be used as a flavor enhancer whereas true infused herbal oils are generally used for cooking and for salad dressings. Chiarello's basil oil is a great drizzled over tomatoes or as in this recipe called "green eggs and ham" which I have adapted using applewood smoked bacon for the prosciutto, adding fresh sliced tomatoes and substituting my basil pesto bread for the thick-sliced country bread Chiarello used.

But first, the Basil Oil:


4 cups basil leaves, washed and spun completely dry using a salad or herb spinner
2 cups olive oil-not extra virgin

Combine basil leaves and olive oil in a blender and puree until completely smooth. A food processor is not recommended as it doesn't grind the herbs fine enough. When smooth, place basil and oil mixture in a saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Cook for 45 seconds, then pour through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Don't press on the mixture, but you can tap the sides of the strainer with your hand to get the oil to drip through faster.

Immediately strain the oil again through a flat-bottomed paper filter. You may need to change the filter if it clogs. Also, you may squeeze the filter some to hasten the oil dripping through, but take care not to break the filter. Let the filtered oil settle a few hours, then pour in an air-tight container and keep in a cool, dark place. Will keep for a week if you have any left by that time.

For the Open-faced Egg Sandwich

For each serving, toast a 1/2 inch slice Basil Pesto Bread on both sides. Top with 2-3 slices cooked applewood smoked bacon, add sliced tomatoes, top with fried or poached egg cooked to your liking, then drizzle basil oil over the top of the egg. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.

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