Australian Functional Ingredients – by Vic Cherikoff

Forest Anise fetta

This method can be applied to all of the wild Australian herbs to make flavoured oils for use as butter substitutes or as marinating oils for vegetables or meats. They are so useful that they could best be considered as ‘mise en bush items’. The less salty the fetta the better the anise myrtle flavour. Other items can also be marinated in this oil, for example, eggplant, capsicum, mushrooms, even olives. The oil is an excellent dipping oil for bread as a substitute for butter. Use light or unflavoured oils since it is the herbs which add the distinctive flavour profile.

1 litre rice bran oil or equivalent
2 tablespoons Forest anise
500g Australian fetta (low salt fetta or soak the fetta in warm water before use)

Heat 100ml of the oil to 40ºC. Remove from heat and add the aForest anise allowing it to infuse as the oil cools. Dice the fetta and place into a clean glass jar. Pour the flavoured oil over the fetta and use the remaining oil to just cover the fetta in the jar. Fit the lid and leave for at least two days. The fetta should keep for at least 2 months but 500g of anise fetta is easy to eat, adding it to salads, stuffing chicken or pork fillets before baking or simply add the fetta to your favourite antipasti dish.

The above process can also be used for chargrilled vegetables such as capsicum, eggplant, artichokes and mushrooms. Consider your names for this accompaniment. It could simply be called Wild or Rainforest herb fetta rather than as above.

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Vic Cherikoff