Summer's essence captured in a bottle

October 11, 1992|By Pat Dailey | Pat Dailey,Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO -- Pull the cork top from a bottle of Consorzio Basil Oil, and the heady perfume of a garden's worth of fresh basil wafts from the bottle.

Spill out a little drop of the precious oil and admire the glistening green-gold color. Then taste it -- on a crusty slice of Italian bread, a big, juicy tomato or in a bowl of pasta. The intense, herbaceous flavor of this new product captures the essence of summer.

The oil, by Michael Chiarello, chef of Tra Vigne restaurant in California's Napa Valley, is an infusion of fresh basil in California olive oil. The potently flavored oil is generously imbued with the aroma of a just-picked bunch of the traditional Italian herb. And just as fresh basil enhances so many dishes, so will this oil. It can be used in salad dressings, mayonnaises and sauces, brushed on grilled fish or poultry or glossed over vegetables, pizza and pasta. In colder months, when fresh basil is costly, the basil-infused oil will be a welcome item to have on hand.

A 375-milliliter bottle -- about 12 1/2 ounces -- retails for $10.25 at all Williams-Sonoma locations.

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