Dipping oils are those little saucers of oil that they serve with warm bread whenever you eat at a high-end restaurant or Italian-themed place. While most people associate this practice with Italian cuisine, it actually is an American thing. If you go to Italy, don’t ask for olive oil and balsamic vinegar whenever you dine out. Italian reasoning is this, you don’t fill up on carbs and oils before your main dish arrives. While the components are Italian, dipping bread into oil isn’t an Italian practice. But cultures aside, it is a very tasty practice that I wouldn’t mind breaking a few rules for.
Dipping Oil Trivia
- The most basic dipping oils are made of only two ingredients, extra virgin olive oil, and a good balsamic vinegar.
- While dipping bread into olive oil isn’t an Italian practice, they do have dishes that involve olive oil being drizzled on to the bread and getting grilled.
- The most popular herbs that are used in dipping oils are Oregano, Basil, Rosemary, Garlic, and red pepper flakes.
- Dipping oil can also be used as a marinade for roasted food.
Dipping Oil Buying Guide
The term “dipping oil” isn’t used as much on commercial products because it severely limits the perceived use of the oil. If you’re in the market for some dipping oils that you can get in stores, then ask around for infused olive oils. Infused olive oils are excellent to use as dipping oils as they already have herbs added to them in the right ratios.
Of course, when looking at dipping oils and infused olive oils, you have to make sure that the olive oil is good of good quality. For use as dipping oils, extra virgin olive oil is the best quality to use with virgin olive oil coming in as a far second place. Don’t even consider dipping oils made from Refined Olive Oil and Olive Pomace oil as these are substandard and not worth the money if you’re using it as a dipping oil.
Another thing to look out for are the words like “pure” “light” “100%” and other marketing terms. These add nothing to the quality of the dipping oil and they’re just added there to make someone think that the product is better than it truly is.
Dipping Oil Production & Farming in Texas
With a growing olive oil industry, you can buy infused olive oils and dipping oils straight from the producer. Of course, these will fall into the range of large-scale producers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re bad. For some things like extra-virgin olive oil that is heavily regulated and protected, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the Texas Association of Olive Oil Producers takes quality very seriously.
On top of that, there are smaller olive farmers who press and make their own extra-virgin olive oil and make it into dipping oils. You can also try and visit local farmers’ markets where these local producers sell their oils and even get a chance to try it before you buy it.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
For the product itself, you don’t have to worry about any additives and chemicals as much as you do with adulteration of the olive oil. A recent report states that almost 80% of all Italian Olive oil is either adulterated, not extra virgin, low quality, or in some cases, not even Italian.
This makes the thought of purchasing dipping oils made from locally produced olive oil much better. You KNOW that the oil is what it claims to be so you’ll be sure of the quality.
As for packaging, imported or local oils will always come in bottles.
Enjoying Dipping Oils
Dipping oils are… well… used for dipping bread. The best types of bread to dip are warm and those that are warm and crusty.
Depending on the quality of the olive oil, dipping oils can last for a while when stored in the fridge. There’s no set time for storage, but a good rule of thumb is that if the oil starts to smell “off” or rancid, then it’s probably time to throw away that batch of dipping oil.
Make your own Dipping Oils:
Dipping oils are surprisingly easy to make, all you need are two ingredients. A good quality extra virgin olive oil and some good quality balsamic vinegar. But if you’re feeling spiffy and you’re in the mood for something that resembles dipping oil that’s served in high-end restaurants, then we have the perfect recipe for you.
One cup olive oil
Half teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Quarter teaspoon chopped rosemary
Half teaspoon ground sea salt
Half teaspoon ground black pepper or black pepper powder
Half teaspoon thyme
Half teaspoon oregano
Half teaspoon minced garlic
Half tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
Half tablespoon minced basil
In a bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
When ready to use, pour in shallow plates and add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and serve with warm and crusty bread.
*Note: Since this contains raw garlic, there is a risk for botulism if stored for extended periods. If you want to make this ahead, only add the raw garlic right before serving.