Recently, a girlfriend of mine asked me if I had a recipe for dipping oil, and I was taken aback. I have never made a dipping oil before. I love them – in fact I love when restaurants serve their hot breads with the combination of olive oil and balsamic vinegar with crunchy salt and cayenne pepper flakes.
I looked up dipping oils on Williams-Sonoma, just for the heck of it, and what I found really shocked me. I’m a huge fan of Williams-Sonoma, and I’ve probably single handedly built a few stores from my purchases over the years. But these dipping oils are $12.95 for one 8.5 ounce bottle!
Here are the varieties that can be purchased:
Pesto recreates the bright flavors of the classic Italian sauce with basil, walnuts, parmesan cheese, garlic and tangy lemon.
Herbs de Provence is a French-inspired blend of herbs de Provence, black pepper, lemon and a hint of Dijon mustard.
Parmesan Garlic is a rich, savory combination of aged parmesan cheese, roasted garlic and Mediterranean herbs.
Rosemary Garlic features a Mediterranean-style blend of rosemary and fragrant garlic, highlighted by tangy lemon and a touch of Dijon mustard.
Sun-Dried Tomato showcases the rich sweetness of sun-dried tomatoes, accented with basil, shallots and spices.
They all sound really good, but the first thing I thought of, not surprisingly, is that they can easily be made at home!
So I decided to do just that. I started with a clean jar, and then added these ingredients:
Spiced and Herbed Dipping Oil
Good quality olive oil, although any good oil could be used
peppercorns, a nice colorful variety
dried chile peppers
some lavender sprigs
a sprig of rosemary
a couple sprigs of thyme
a few bay leaves
a couple of peeled garlic cloves
Then I shook everything up and let the jar sit in my pantry for 2 weeks. I didn’t add salt, nor did I add cheese. I felt that those ingredients could be added at the time when I serve the dipping oil with bread.
I used a funnel with a sieve attached to pour some of the oil into a small dipping bowl.
And then the tasting began. Or, uh, testing. The taste was spectacular by itself, but I did add some salt.
Then I added some balsamic vinegar for fun.
It was a fabulous combination; the vinegar didn’t overwhelm the oil because it’s pretty potent itself.
I will definitely play with making these oils again. So many different possibilities!