Olive oil dipping sauce

Bread and butter? Versatile Olive Oil Dips Take the Place of Butter

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We’ve come a long way from simple packaged breads that you can pick up at the supermarket. Here in Los Angeles bread bakeries are springing up across the city. My favorites are The Bread Lounge and Clark Street Bakery at the moment, each with their own spin on crusty, chewy baguettes as well as many other varieties. These toothsome loaves need a fresh accompaniment idea.

Bread and butter? Not so fast. Creative olive oil combinations have taken the place of butter as an accompaniment for bread. I prefer the fruity flavor of olive oil with bread. Even more delicious are blending different flavors together. These sauces become the center of the table and are a wonderful beginning to any Mediterranean-inspired repast. A glass of chilled Rose or Chardonnay would be a refreshing pairing.

As the weather heats up, you’ll appreciate how easy these are to prepare— no cooking required. I like to serve these sauces in small glass bowls with a spoon for people to help themselves. Make sure to have an assorted bread basket with French baguette, walnut, sourdough and Foccacia along with bread plates.

These versatile sauces are also a wonderful glaze on grilled chicken, fish or vegetables,. They can also be used as a simple sauce to pasta and a quick dressing to drizzle on your favorite greens. Look for Meyer lemon-flavored olive oil— it offers a slightly sweet yet tart flavor to the oil. If you can’t find it, add a bit of lemon juice and zest to the oil and go from there. Make sure to select a good quality robust extra virgin olive oil.

Olive Oil Dipping Sauces

Serves 4 to 6

Lemon, Olive and Dried Cherry Sauce

1/2 cup lemon olive oil

2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar

2 garlic cloves, ends removes and sliced into very thin slivers

A few sprigs of fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives

2 tablespoons chopped dried cherries

Freshly ground black pepper

 

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in small glass bowl and mix to combine. Cover and let rest for at least 4 hours so that the flavors have time to meld. Serve with a spoon or pour into small plates for serving with bread.

 

Advance Preparation: This can be made up to 1 week ahead and covered in an airtight container and kept at room temperature

 

Anchovy, Sun-Dried Tomato and Tapenade Sauce

1/2 cup fruity olive oil

2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped anchovies, (I prefer white anchovies if you can find them)

2 tablespoons green or black storebought Tapendade

2 tablespoons chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes

1/4 1/teaspoon hot sauce or spicy chile paste, or to taste

 

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in small glass bowl and mix to combine. Cover and let rest for at least 4 hours so that the flavors have time to meld. Serve with a spoon or pour into small plates for serving with bread.

 

Advance Preparation: This can be made up to 1 week ahead and covered in an airtight container and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before serving.

 

Note: You can find white anchovies at gourmet specialty stores in the refrigerated section. They have a sweeter, milder flavor than regular canned anchovies.