There are variations to Italian dipping oils

Dear Lisa: Thank you for the coffee can/bag ice cream idea. Bet it saves me buying a maker — I will always have cans, bags, and ingredients on hand. Have you any idea how to make a bread dipping sauce/oil like that served at Johnny Carino’s? — Barbara May

Dear Barbara: Many Italian restaurants are now serving a flavored olive oil sauce to dip bread into as an appetizer. There are so many variations for flavored olive oils, I am including three different recipes. You can easily vary the recipes to suit your taste by changing the herbs, adding freshly ground Parmesan or Romano cheese, etc. Be sure to use a high-quality olive oil for the best flavor.

Serve the oil in a bowl with good, crusty bread, and let everyone help themselves! Do not keep these mixtures for longer than 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator, as fresh garlic can make the mixture unsafe.

Italian Bread Dipping Sauce

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (optional)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped dried oregano

One to two minced fresh garlic cloves (to taste)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground coarse black pepper

Dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

1 tablespoon sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together and let sit to allow the flavors to meld for at least an hour or two before serving. Serve in a shallow bowl with crusty Italian bread cut into thick slices.

Carrabba’s Restaurant Dipping Oil

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

1 tablespoon chopped parsley (Italian is best)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or ground sea salt

1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon olive oil

1/8 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Combine all the spices in a shallow bowl and pour olive oil over spices.

Flavored dipping oil

This recipe is my favorite. It makes enough spice mix for about 8 separate dishes of dipping oil. You can leave out the fresh garlic until serving time to lengthen the storage time of the spices.

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon garlic-minced

1 teaspoon salt

Grind together and put 1 tablespoon of mixture on plate. Pour extra virgin olive oil over and mix together. Serve with warm French baguette bread to dip in the mixture.

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