Of all the places I could go for inspiration, a tiny, touristy cafe is last on my list.

Yet it was here, on a corner down the road from Sacre Coeur, that I picked up my favorite Paris-cooking tip.

When the big boy ordered pizza for lunch, our waiter at Le Carrousel Montmartre plopped a bottle of olive oil next to his plate. It was teeming with thyme, red pepper, coriander seeds and peppercorns. We drizzled it on our basket of baguettes and promptly fell in love:

It was spicy. Fragrant. Subtle.


Once we got home, I grabbed a cruet and made my own version of the herby, kicky oil. It’s our go-to oil now for finishing salad dressings, for drizzling on roasted vegetables, for pouring over our own basket of baguettes.

Bon appetit!

Sacre Couer Olive Oil

I keep this in a cabinet and replenish it every couple of weeks. You could use any woody herb (rosemary comes to mind) and whatever whole spices you like.

  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1 chile de Arbol, broken into pieces
  • Whole coriander seeds
  • Peppercorns
  • Best-quality olive oil

Stuff the thyme, chile, coriander and pepper into a clean cruet.

Cover with olive oil.

Store in a dark place for a day or so before using.