Lemon-infused olive oil is a fantastic addition to many pizzas (and other dishes), adding an element of brightness that can cut through heavy, rich, or fatty elements. If you’ve heard of agrumato, you may have heard the term used interchangeably with lemon-infused olive oil, but they’re not exactly the same thing.
Agrumato vs. Lemon-Infused Olive Oil
To create agrumato, makers actually press lemons (or other citrus) along with the olives as they make olive oil. This deeply infuses the flavors together and creates an incredible product that combines the best of olive oil and lemon, and gives them time to meld together beautifully.
When you make lemon-infused olive oil at home, you’re adding lemon to existing olive oil. Obviously this is a completely different process, and yes, the result is somewhat different. In most cases, though, you can absolutely substitute your homemade lemon-infused olive oil for agrumato.
A Note on Botulism:
A dear friend and professional microbiologist said that the chances of getting botulism from a long-term infusion of lemon peels is “pretty low” as long as you “wash the lemons really, really well first and make sure they’re absolutely dry.” I’d rather not take my “pretty low” chances, much less suggest that you risk it, so I came up with this method. Make it in small quantities whenever you need it, use it up quickly, and avoid the risk of botulism!
Quick Lemon-Infused Olive Oil Recipe
- 1 lemon
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (look for one that’s bright-tasting with notes of citrus)
- Thoroughly wash and dry the lemon.
- Slice the peel off the lemon, avoiding as much of the white pith as possible. You only want the outer, yellow layer.
- Put the lemon peel into a mortar and pestle along with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Pound for a minute or two until the lemon peel is fairly well smashed.
- Add the rest of the olive oil to the mortar and pound for another minute or two. Strain out the lemon peel, and your oil is ready to use!
- If you don’t use all of the oil up immediately, store in the fridge for up to a week.