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Restaurant Style Bread Dipping Oil

green herbs and garlic with olive oil and balsamic in a small white bowl with crusty bread on the side

I am so excited to have an herb garden this year!!  Shout out to the hubby for putting together a small raised garden to make it super easy for me to take care of - I have parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage and mint coming out of my ears, but I absolutely LOVE fresh herbs and have been looking for ways to use them in my recipes as much as possible.  One of my favorite things to do with herbs is throw them together to make this easy restaurant style bread dipping oil, just like you find at many of your favorite Italian restaurants.  Rich, flavorful extra virgin olive oil and slightly sweet, dark balsamic vinegar are poured over a ton of herbs and garlic.  The simplicity of dipping hot crusty bread in this herbaceous mixture is both satisfying and comforting.

If you don't have fresh herbs on hand you can absolutely use dried herbs - I've included measurements for both below.  Depending on what you have on hand you can also do a combination - part fresh, part dried - it's a great way to use up extra herbs you have lying around and it can turn a home date night in to something that feels, well- a little more fancy.  Just grab a loaf of crusty artisan bread from the store, (or make some - click here for a super easy bread recipe that you can throw together in the morning in just 5 minutes and leave all day - it will be take very little effort to bake it in the evening), then warm the bread in the oven and serve with the dipping oil for a fun appetizer or treat.  (I've even used the dollar loaves of French or Italian bread at Walmart and baked them for 7-10 minutes at 350 and they are perfect for this dip too!) 

A couple of tips:

  • If you do use any fresh herbs for this recipe, make sure you cut them up nice and finely for the best results.  At the very least, try to use fresh parsley - that little bit of fresh makes all the difference.
  • Also, use good quality extra virgin olive oil - olive oil preference is ultimately really by individual taste, but if you need a starting point, there are a couple that seem to stand out as both affordable and tasty when it comes to popularity - California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil which can be found at many grocery stores, and Kirkland organic extra virgin olive oil from Costco.  I've tried and enjoyed both of these brands!  I also personally love Members Mark extra virgin olive oil from Sam's Club, but as I always say - you do you!  If you have a brand that you love, use it! 
  • Use fresh garlic and press or mince it finely yourself - it tastes so much better than the jar you keep in the refrigerator.
  • You can use regular table salt for this, but if you have sea salt or flaked salt, it adds a little bit of beautiful texture to this dipping oil.
  • I like the flavor of balsamic vinegar with the oil, but if you aren't a balsamic vinegar fan, just substitute a tsp of lemon juice instead - it will help brighten it up.

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves of garlic - minced or pressed
  • 1/2 tbsp dried basil (or 1 Tbps fresh)
  • 1 tsp dried parsley (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tsp fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tsp fresh)
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary (or 1/2 tsp fresh)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp regular salt (OR 1/2 tsp flaked or sea salt)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 

Instructions:

  1. Add the garlic, basil, parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary, red pepper flakes, black pepper and salt to a small bowl.  (Remember to finely chop all fresh herbs!)
  2. Pour the olive oil over the top and stir gently to combine.  Let sit at least 30 minutes so the oil gets infused.
  3. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar in just before serving.
  4. Serve with warm, crusty bread.


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