When I made the Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti the other day, I took some time to reacquaint myself with Chef Chiarello's Tra Vigne cookbook. One of the things I like about his cookbooks is along with the featured recipes, he always provides side notes on "Chef's Tips", "Entertaining Notes", or "Wine Notes", that are helpful and educational. I discovered a Chef's Tip for frying rosemary. Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs. Smelling it makes me smile. My outdoor rosemary shrubs usually last throughout the winter, maybe getting just a bit brown. I take great pleasure in walking out my backdoor, trudging through the snow to snip off a stem or two of rosemary. When I saw this tip for frying rosemary, I had to make it. Chef's instructions were to deep fry it. I did not want to drag out my deep fryer just to fry a sprig of rosemary. So I improvised. I took a shallow saute pan; poured in about a cup of olive oil. I heated the olive oil and gently added the sprigs of rosemary. They sizzled right away. I let them sizzle in the olive oil for about 60 seconds. When most of the sizzling subsided, I removed them to drain on a paper towel.
Once they were cool, Chef Chiarello's notes explained that the crisp rosemary could be added to salt and other spices to make a seasoned salt. But now what to do with the olive oil. I hated to waste it. I then realized that I had made rosemary flavored olive oil. I strained it into a jar and have been using it in my cooking this week.
So now you are asking yourself, what would I do with rosemary salt and rosemary olive oil? The first thing I made was popcorn. Once popped, in place of butter, I drizzled the rosemary olive oil over the popcorn and sprinkled with the seasoned rosemary salt.
Next day, I sauteed chicken breasts in the rosemary olive oil. They came out beautifully browned and with just a hint of rosemary. They were delicious in a chicken sandwich.
The oil or the salt would be wonderful with beef or lamb. I would love to grill a steak and finish it with a sprinkle of the rosemary salt and a drizzle of rosemary oil. That would be beautiful. Or use the salt and oil with roasted or baked potatoes. A drizzle of oil on grilled or toasted bread would be nice with melted cheese and honey.
If you decide to make the fried rosemary and it's bi-products, be sure to use them within a week's time. These are not meant to be stored for long term use. Honestly, I can think of so many ways to use these. Eggs, cheese, grains pastas, any savory food really.
3 small sprigs of rosemary
1 cup olive oil
Place the olive oil in a small saute pan over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the sprigs of rosemary for 60 seconds. Remove to a paper towel to drain.
Rosemary Olive Oil
Once the oil from the fried rosemary has cooled, pour through a funnel into a bottle or jar. Use within 1 week.
Rosemary Seasoned Salt
1 teaspoon fried rosemary
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Place the fried rosemary onto a paper towel. Gather the paper towel to close the rosemary within; rub the paper towel to crunch the rosemary into small bits. Remove the stems. Place 1 teaspoon of rosemary into a small jar or bowl. Add the kosher salt. Shake or stir to combine.