Several years ago, the memory is a little hazy about the when and where, we were eating a family meal at a very nice restaurant. Definitely not McDonald’s. The kind of place with candles and white tablecloths.
This is an especially notable detail as I would never, in a bazillion years, ever put a white tablecloth on our own dinner table. What would be the point, after all? One use and it would never be the same.
But, back to my story. It was here, at this unlikely eatery, that we were introduced to bread and….olive oil. A small white dish with dark, fruity olive oil, a bit of aged balsamic vinegar and freshly chopped herbs.
Where was the butter, Sam, the bread hound, wanted to know.
There wasn’t any. A moment of unhappiness (with Jim and I wondering what insanity had brought us here with a child) until he was persuaded to dip his bread. By this time, the two adults in the party were enthusiastically dipping with abandon.
And, if you haven’t already guessed, with one dip, he was hooked.
In fact, to this day, whenever we bring home a nice crusty loaf or baguette, Sam is quite ready to throw together a little dipping oil of his own for the dinner table.
Here’s the recipe at it’s most basic.
All you need is a good quality olive oil and a nice aged balsamic vinegar.
Simply pour some olive oil onto a plate or shallow bowl to cover the bottom. Then pour or spoon on a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar.
And there are definitely benefits to ditching the butter. Researchers have found that consuming a Mediterranean diet heavy in olive oil can help lower some heart risks. Consuming more than four tablespoons a day can significantly lower your risk of having a heart attack, suffering from a stroke or dying of heart disease, according to the recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
For more dipping ideas, check out these recipes: