Before my husband and son started their get healthy diet, we had a Tapas Monday dinner with an Italian theme. There were grilled eggplant wheels topped with seasoned ricotta, garlic and cheese chicken sausage bites, and homemade focaccia served with dipping oil. It was an indulgent and tasty way to end our Monday.
Dipping oils* have been all the rage at restaurants for many years. Instead of serving your rolls or bread with butter, a small dish of olive oil and assorted seasonings is presented. The beautiful thing about the dipping oil is that it can be flavored however you see fit. If you have especially good extra virgin olive oil, it doesn’t need much added, maybe just a sprinkle of salt and pepper. However, if you want to add other flavor notes, you can add a variety of herbs, balsamic vinegar, or a hard Italian cheese.
For our home recipe, I usually like adding balsamic vinegar. It adds a nice hint of sweetness and makes the dipping oil a bit lighter. For herbs, in this recipe, I used basil and oregano, as they coordinated well with the seasoned ricotta and the flavors in the focaccia.
Give this recipe a try, making changes as you see fit. One key note is not to make this oil at the last moment. If it can rest for a couple hours, it will give the ingredients a chance to infuse their flavors into the oil.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. basil
- 2-3 Tb. balsamic vinegar
- salt & pepper
- Combine oil, herbs, and vinegar in a small bowl.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.
- Remove from refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to serving to bring to room temperature.
- *Disclaimer- I seriously considered whether a dipping oil should be categorized as a sauce or a spread. I, obviously, decided it should.
- Not only can it be used for dipping bread, but it could be used as a sauce on steamed asparagus or tossed with pasta and veggies for a main dish.