One of my favorite treats is to dip Italian bread into an olive oil dipping sauce. This is my go-to snack when I want something quick and comforting. It only takes a few minutes to make.
Olive oil is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, is full of antioxidants that help protect the heart and blood cells from damage, has anti-inflammatory properties, and is a major ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. It satisfies a craving for fat, while being a healthy fat. Many people in the Mediterranean regions believe that olive oil is the key to longevity.
When I lived in Los Angeles, I was seated next to a couple in an Italian restaurant. They were visiting from Italy. The restaurant had wonderful fresh-baked bread and they would pour olive oil at the table for dipping. This couple took the salt and pepper shakers and started creating their own dipping sauce. I was intrigued and asked them about it. They said they always put salt and pepper in their olive oil. So I tried it. I’ve expanded on it since then and tried many variations.
In the recipe below I add crushed garlic, but sometimes I leave out the garlic and just use herbs. Try a variety of herbs for different tastes. Drizzle in some balsamic vinegar for a little zesty sweetness. Try olive oils from different regions and countries. They all have unique flavors. Be sure to use extra virgin olive oil for its flavor and health benefits.
To make garlic bread, I spread this dipping sauce on a baguette and toast in the oven. It goes very well with salads, soups, and pasta dishes. Olive oil and bread makes a healthy alternative to bread and butter.
Do you like olive oil? Have you ever tried making a dipping sauce? Let me know in the comments.
You can find this recipe for Olive Oil Dipping Sauce and 200 others in my new cookbook, The Big Book of Mediterranean Diet Cooking, available online and in bookstores across the country.
Olive Oil Dipping Sauce
- 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 1 tbsp Italian herb blend
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- In a small bowl, combine all ingredient and stir to blend.
- Serve with fresh Italian bread.