The Art Of Flavouring Oil

JANET LEIGH talks flavoured oil with local chefsoils

Infusing oil is a practice that has been around for centuries. Adding herbs to oils not only enhances the richness of the oil but also brings out the flavour of an otherwise so-so meal. Flavoured oils are easy to get your hands on in stores but if you’re a grow your own enthusiast your garden herbs could become the key ingredients in your own infusion mix.

Never one to be dull in the kitchen The Four Gables chef David Gillott talks to Mouth about how he infuses oil.

“We tend to flavour rapeseed oil,” says the Surrey chef who runs his cooking academy on the Four Gables Farm.

Rapeseed oil has grown in popularity over the last few years and according to the Guardian is what “serious chefs are turning to”. 

Ryan Waddell

Ryan tells which oils are a perfect to always have handy

David is not alone in his way of thinking: rapeseed is also one of the top choice of oils used by another local chef. 

Canbury Arm’s Head chef Ryan Waddell says: “I tend to use rapeseed oil on a day to day basis as it is a British product that tends to be GM free.”

A wide variety means that well flavoured oils can be used for a number of things. When talking salad dressing Ryan says that “a good quality oil is key”.

“Pumpkin oil, hazelnut oil and walnut oil are a great addition to any cupboard,” he adds.

Ryan’s selection may add the needed twist to make a salad more exciting but David has a different method to hand.

“We take half rapeseed oil, half olive oil,” he explains. “Then we take lots of herbs that we grow here on the small holdings, things like rosemary, thyme, sage maybe a bit of garlic as well. We put it into a bottle and leave it to infuse for about four weeks or so just to make sure we get as much flavour out of it really as we can.”


David shares his kitchen tips for flavouring oil

Salad is not the only dish where a richly herb infused oil comes in handy.

“We use it [flavoured oils] to brush over meat as well,” explains David. “Once it’s cooked, we might brush it with a thyme oil or lamb with a rosemary oil just to infuse a bit more flavour.”

You can also reap the benefits of a well-flavoured oil when slow cooking veg, as David and the Four Gable staff regularly do. “If we’re cooking some carrots we quite often put them in a vacuum pack bag with a little bit of butter, a little bit of thyme oil, some salt and pepper and cook them out like that in a water bowl.”

If the endless possibilities of herb infused oil has inspired you to get experimenting David has provided a quick method to help you concoct your own.


Seasoned to perfection – the benefits of flavoured oil

Simple? It seems so, his only warning is not to get too spice happy.

“It’s really important to use things that work, says David. “Walnut oil, sesame seed oil and things along those lines are really heavy flavours. Too much of them will ruin what ever you’re trying to create so you’ve got to be slightly careful that not to add too much.”





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Categories: Word of Mouth


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