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Dipping oils

Dipping oils are flavored or "infused" oils, usually based on olive oil and often garlic, that replace butter for seasoning bread, vegetables, and even salads. Herbs added to oil and stored can carry Clostridium Botulinum, which causes a deadly food poisoning, so use your homemade oils within one to two weeks and store them in the refrigerator. Avoid storing infused oils for long periods, and do not buy commercial ones. If you receive one as a gift, use it for decoration. For gift-giving, make infused vinegars, they are quite safe. Avoid pre-packaged dipping oils and make yours fresh. Here is a range of recipes from simple to superb.

Simple cold pesto dipping oil

Yield: 1/4 cup

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or more
1 tablespoon basil pesto
1 tablespoon green olive spread/ bruschetta
1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan or three-cheese blend

Mash or blenderize until smooth, adding additional oil if needed. Let sit at room temp until served.


Olive oil for dipping

1/2 cup
More complex than the pesto oil above, and improves even more if it stands overnight in the fridge before serving at room temperature.

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon French sea salt (Fleur de Sel)
OPTIONAL (CHOOSE ONE OR TWO) 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
OR 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
OR 1/4 teaspoon anchovy paste
OR 1/2 teaspoon roasted garlic
OR 2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine all the ingredients except the olive oil in a small bowl and mash together with one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Place the mixed ingredients into the serving plate or bowl and pour the rest of the extra virgin olive oil on top. Stir before serving.


Sesame- Garlic Dipping Oil

1/4 cup
Made on the stove

1/4 c olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds

Gently warm the sesame seeds, add the olive oil and garlic over low heat. Keeping the heat low, heat until the garlic turns golden, 2-3 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Oven-prepared dipping oil with roasted garlic

Oven temp 375-450 degrees.
1/2 cup
This sounds the most complicated, but you can make it while you are baking your bread or roasting your entree, and it is most delicious. Because you strain out the garlic and herbs, its flavor will mystify your diners. Be careful not to burn the garlic, or the oil is ruined.

1/2 cup fruity extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon dried rosemary or fresh rosemary stripped from a 3-4" sprig
8"-9" fresh thyme sprigs
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked or ground
1 clove to one whole bulb of garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano OR 1 tablespoon fresh
1 teaspoon dried basil OR 1 tablespoon fresh
Oven-safe ramekin or Pyrex dish

Peel and chop all the garlic into a fine dice. Place in a smallish oven proof ramekin or dish. Chop each of the remaining herbs, layer into the dish. Grind some pepper, approximately one teaspoon, into the ramekin. Pour in enough olive oil just to cover the chopped stuff. Stir gently.
Place the herb-filled ramekin uncovered in the oven. Every five minutes (or so) stir it and check the herb mix, particularly the garlic. It will bubble as the vegetables release their water, but the garlic must not burn.
Once the garlic is a nice medium brown color and has a firm, almost crisp texture, remove the ramekin from the oven and place it on a heat-proof surface until cool. After the mixture is cool, strain it into a suitable serving / storing container and add the rest of the oil.
Serve warm or at room temperature, but refrigerate to store.