I’ve got to ask you something. Now, tell me, honestly, is there anything easier to prepare and serve than bread dipped in extra virgin olive oil? It’s not only easy, but delicious too.
I can’t think of anything that repays you in taste for so little effort.
You can get fancy and have one of those loaves of bread that’s as long as a baseball bat, either French or Italian. Or you can use a slice of whole wheat bread from the same bag you use for toast and sandwiches.
Warm the bread or not. The choice is yours.
Get really fancy and add a dash of herbs to the oil. Herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme easily lend their fragrance and taste to oil.
Add a sprinkle of sea salt. Why sea salt? Because it’s less salty than plain old table salt, and it’s got all those minute minerals from the sea to enhance it so conventional wisdom says it’s healthier for you. Add a few grinds of cracked black pepper.
Oh, and don’t forget garlic. If you like the taste, and who doesn’t, take a clove and smash it with the side of a knife. That makes it easy to pick off the peel. Mince it finely and add to the oil. You can even do the same with red onion, just dice it really fine.
Heat the oil gently in a sauce pan. I don’t use a microwave just because I’m a little leery of overheating it. Getting burned trying to retrieve a cup of hot oil isn’t my idea of fun. Pour into individual serving bowls or into a communal bowl if you don’t mind the intimacy of sharing that way. There’s some really attractive dipping bowls being sold in lots of places now. I like those of pottery or stoneware myself. Break out the bread and have a ball.
If you don’t want to flavor the oil yourself, then buy one of the flavored oils or infused oils that are available. You can get flavors from citrus to garlic to pepper. There are some wonderful infusions already bottled up and ready to go. What could be easier?
Of course, if you’re a purist, or just lazy like me, then go for a really flavorful extra virgin with nothing added.
The simplest meal I ever made? Sliced ripe, juicy tomatoes, a wedge of cheese, warmed oil, and toasted French bread. Was it fabulous?
You better believe it! I would even serve that to company.
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