Oleaginous Abundance

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Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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33 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    Ohhh, tough and tasty question. I just discovered the concept of multiple infused OO’s this weekend when Wife took me to Oil and Vinegar. I know its a national chain but not exactly how widespread. Anywho they had many many tasty oils; i got some garlic EVOO which is good, but really how could it be bad. They had literally, not figuratively or even virtually, but literally thousands of combos of infused oils and vinegars. I might suggest using one of them with scallops if you like them. Just lightly grill the scallops with either the best oil or the one you want to get rid of the most. They are rich in themselves but really need some good, but not overdone flavor. Heck i’d probably make some sweet potato fries with a bit of OO and spices. Maybe the garlic OO some black pepper and cumin.

    Well i’m hungry now, how long is it until breakfast?Report

  2. Avatar greginak says:

    Another idea is to get some popcorn and pop it in pan with one of the oils. The wife suggested jalapeño flavored oil because i like jalapeños. The pepper OO would be good, then put some parmesan cheese on top.Report

  3. Avatar Kazzy says:

    First, I cosign onto the idea that seafood and cheese (or, more broadly, any dairy products) is strange. When I went to college, I remember seeing someone having what I would learn to be a tuna melt made on the flat top. “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!?!? WARM TUNA FISH? CHEESE??? UGH!” I might sprinkle a bit of parmesan if I’ve got some shrimp fra diablo going, but we all know the tomato sauce provides the appropriate buffer.

    Second, can infused oils be made at home? Is it just a matter of putting whatever infusing agent you desire in a bottle with the oil and letting it sit for a period of time? Or is it more complicated? If it is as easy as I suspect, what is the minimum time needed to extract the flavors from the infusing agents?

    Third, Greg’s idea about old school popcorn made in the pan is a great one. With the lemon, have you considered making a vinaigrette? At the restaurant I used to work at, they had a lemon-olive oil vinaigrette that really livened up the salads. I think it combined olive oil and lemon rather than an infused oil, but I imagine it is still possible. I, for one, love the taste and aroma of citrus, so I’d probably enjoy the lemony one more than you might (though too much can indeed be too sweet). I use a ton of olive oil, largely with my veggies. I try to get “back to basics” with veggies, giving them some prep work to make them more palatable than in their raw form (especially for Zazzy) but not to overdo it to the point of losing their natural tastiness OR their health benefits. A quick saute in olive oil and garlic typically suffices.Report

    • Avatar Glyph says:

      Aw, a good tuna melt is a thing of beauty (though hard to find).Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        Tuna melts must be consumed immediately after their creation. And I still think they taste odd.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        Melted sharp cheddar on a properly-blackened fish sandwich can be pretty good.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        @glyph

        Your endorsement of melted cheese on fish might be the most offensive thing that has ever graced these pages.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        I’m gonna make a smelt melt.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Back in the day, I’d occasionally get called upon to copyedit stuff for the papers I regularly wrote for when the ‘official’ copyeditors were on vacation. One day, one of the town columns came in with a graf on the smelt running and this golden fragment of a sentence: “Always happy to clean some for some if you get some.”

        There was, sadly, no mention of cheese for barter; but I pondered the sentence over a grilled-cheese sandwich and decided to leave it be for the beauty of its voice.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        @zic – You should have had a child look over the copy.

        As every child knows, once you apprehend the smelt, the dealt portion will become clear.Report

    • Avatar Bert The Turtle says:

      I’ve heard making your own infused oils with herbs and spices is pretty easy, but that you should never try to make your own garlic infused olive oil unless you’re going to use it immediately. The acidity of garlic is too low to inhibit anaerobic bacterial growth, so you can end up with a nasty case of botulism if you’re not careful.Report

  4. Avatar Kazzy says:

    And while we are on the topic of infusions, allow me to sing the praises of homemade infused vodkas. They are super simple to make and quite delectable. I usually opt for a jalapeno infused one to put in my Bloody Mary; as far as I see it, a BM can never be spicy enough. Slice up the pepper, drop it in the bottle, shake a few time, and let it sit for a few days. A week is ideal but it doesn’t take long to pull the heat out of their. You can control the heat but adding more or fewer seeds. But since the flavor is infused throughout the beverage, you get a far more even distribution of heat than you might by loading up on horseradish or black pepper (not that I don’t still load up on both).

    You can also do fruit infusions which make for nice summery drinks when poured over ice and/or mixed with a bit of soda water. I’ve seen people do chocolate and coffee, though I’ve never tried myself. The infusion period varies a bit, both because of the infusing agent and the desired amount of infusion, so you’ll need to experiment. Pineapples are so flavorful and juicy that they work quickly like the jalapenos; strawberries take more time.

    The bottles also look very cool if you display them for a party. With the exception of a black pepper (use whole peppercorns) infusion. Very tasty — a different sort of heat than the jalapeno — but it turns the booze a murky brown that some people find off putting to look at.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      I think this is one reason the oils are so trendy and popular: they absorb the color of whatever it is they are flavored with, and when displayed on a kitchen counter look beautiful.Report

  5. Avatar Damon says:

    I’m a big fan of using rosemary twigs as skewers to grill shrimp with. Quite tasty. But I really prefer my shrimp either boiled like crawfish or in my shrimp and grits. 🙂Report

  6. Avatar zic says:

    I’d try using the lemon oil in salads. Medium bulgur wheat, cooked and drained, and tossed with the oil, some finely-chopped onion or shallot, raisins, kalamata olives, and chopped mint.

    Perhaps swirled into so freshly-made humus.

    As a marinade for anything where lemon would be desired.

    And if it’s too strong/sweet to use straight up, I wouldn’t hesitate to cut it with unflavored oil.

    Infused oils are tricky; some can have too much flavor, some not enough. In my experience, they also have a shorter shelf-life (particularly if the flavoring agents are left in them), so if you can’t use it all before it starts becoming rancid, don’t mourn, just find a friend with a bio-diesel car.Report

    • Avatar Bert The Turtle says:

      Whole heartedly agree with the lemon oil on salad idea. I’ve paired lemon oil with an apple infused balsamic vinegar over spinach, pear, gorgonzola, and walnuts, but I imagine a tabbouleh would be pretty good too.

      Also, the infused oils go well in desserts. Pick up a chocolate infused balsamic, shake it up the lemon oil and pour over ice cream or cheesecake. Yum.Report

  7. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Two possible thoughts, though they would be guesses rather than advice from experience.

    1. For putting a dent in the infused oils, what about baking? I know that a lot of recipes call for oil, and maybe using basil infused oil for, say, scones would give them a hint of something unique. Plus, you could get rid of it a quarter/half/full cup at a time that way.

    2. Here’s something I make almost every day these days, and it might translate well with your lemon oil:

    I take a batch of raw, tender kale, chop it up and throw it in a bowl. I drizzle a bit of olive oil over it, give it a good dose of freshly ground black pepper, and add a very small amount of grated parmesan. (Like, *very* little. I don’t want the calories, and I don’t want the salad to taste cheesy. I’m using it the same way I use sea salt — so that there is an occasional salty taste burst on my tongue when I’m eating the kale.) Then I squeeze half a fresh lemon over the lot, and toss. You can make it in about 2 minutes, it’s both healthy and filling, and it’s a good way to prepare kale for those that find its taste a little too powerful, and/or hate always having to sauté or braise to get people to eat them.

    Anyway, it occurs to me simply using your lemon olive oil *might* work really well with that dish. Maybe you could even use less lemon juice, or maybe even not use a lemon at all.Report

  8. Avatar aaron david says:

    Greek lemon soup, maybe?Report

  9. Avatar Damon says:

    Truffle oil? Only if it’s the real stuff, not the manufacured stuff.

    I stole this from wikipedia:
    Gordon Ramsay has referred to natural truffle oil as “a chef’s dream,”but has referred to engineered white truffle oil as “one of the most pungent, ridiculous ingredients ever known to chef.”

    Anthony Bourdain said, “Let it be stated here, unto forever and eternity, truffle oil is not food.”Report