I’m having a hard time cooking these days. I don’t have the energy to do very much at all and cooking is at the bottom of my list. Yet I have to eat and currently do not have money to splurge on delivery or eating out so I find myself in a bit of a quandary.
A few days ago I made bread dough. And it sat there. And sat there. Luckily for me the recipe says the dough can sit there for 12 days before using it. I think I waited about 7 days before I got the energy to take turn the bread dough out onto a pan to make focaccia. Yeah. That’s right. There was little more to do besides flatten the dough out on a pan. Yet even that seemed like too much energy. (As an aside, writing this blog post takes monumental effort.)
So then I had the dough sitting there waiting to be baked and I was all … what am I going to do with it once it’s baked? Other than … just eat it right out of the oven nice piping hot and fresh and all. (As an aside, it just took me minutes to figure out the term “piping hot.” I kept thinking “popping” hot or popping something but that didn’t seem right.)
I guess I could have eaten it with butter but thought I should give my cholesterol levels a break. I remembered back to a time when I would be eating out with my sister and she would dip her bread in olive oil and … something. And she would recreate it at home. Olive old and balsamic maybe. Or olive oil and parmesan cheese? Or one little ramekin of each maybe.
So I found a recipe at the Food Charlatan for Restaurant-Style Olive Oil and Balsamic Bread Dip that seemed easy enough for me to recreate without much mental or physical fatigue. Turns out, it was. I made it even easier by using minced garlic from a jar instead of fresh garlic. I used to always choose fresh garlic in recipes but as I age, I find myself OK with some food shortcuts (like taking minced garlic from a jar instead of peeling and mincing garlic cloves).
- ½ c. good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 to 5 cloves garlic, crushed and minced (or 2 to 2 ½ tsp. minced garlic from a jar)
- 2 T. oregano (or Italian seasoning)
- ¼ c. fresh parmesan or romano cheese, finely grated
- ¼ c. balsamic vinegar, or to taste
- fresh ground black pepper and kosher salt, to taste
- bread, for dipping
- If using fresh garlic: pour the olive oil into a small shallow pan. Set over medium-low heat. Add the minced garlic. Leave the oil and garlic over the heat just until it has warmed, then pour the oil onto a deep plate or wide, shallow bowl. Immediately sprinkle with oregano, cheese, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper and salt.
- If using minced garlic from a jar: pour the olive oil into a deep plate or wide, shallow bowl. Sprinkle with oregano, cheese, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper and salt to taste.
- Serve with hot crusty bread, focaccia or any bread you prefer.
There’s an actual technique to effectively dipping your bread in this sauce so that you can get all the flavors at once because as you know, oil and vinegar separate rather immediately once mixed. I took one side of the bread and found the balsamic concentrated on one side of the dish and first dipped the bread in that area. Then I flipped the bread to another edge and dipped into the olive oil (other) area of the dish.
I put a hefty amount of salt in this dipping sauce because I like things salty. I tend not to gravitate toward sweet and savory as a combo and use salt to offset the sweet taste.