A couple of years ago, we had our first trip to Carrabba's for dinner, and my husband was hooked on the dipping oil and herbs. If that was all that was served, he'd probably be a happy man. So we immediately started looking for a knock-off recipe. We even got the exact recipe (or so they said) from the waiter and the restaurant. None of them were exactly right, so we tweaked it to our tastes.
If you're looking for a way to stretch a meal, or keep the masses at bay while dinner finishes, or just have something that encourages everyone to sit around the table and talk, I recommend a loaf of fresh bread and and nice bowl of dipping oil. Give everyone a plate or bowl and enjoy.
~Spring for good olive oil, and get the extra virgin. Anything that's heavier will allow the oil to over-power the herbs.
~Be creative with the bread. Make your own or go to the local market and grab a variety of breads to try.
~Adjust the spices to your family's taste. If there's something you particularly love or hate, adjust accordingly.
~I find kids love this too, so don't think you're saving it all for the adults! Caution kids not to scoop up the herbs on their bread. They'll be in for a nasty surprise, and possibly and upset stomach later.
~If we are a small gathering, we leave a bowl in the middle of the table, as pictured. For a larger group, you can ladle onto individual plates, or leave the herbs and oil unmixed and put a scattering of herbs on a plate and drizzle with oil. Keep the oil on the table, you'll run out and the herbs go a long way.
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon powdered garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 - 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (add more as needed)
1-2 loaves of fresh bread
~Crush all dry ingredients with a mortar and pestle. (Rub herbs between your hands if you don't have a mortar and pestle.)
~Place into a bowl, and add minced garlic and olive oil.
~While dipping or serving, make sure that you continue to stir up the herbs.
~When oil runs low, add more and stir.
Blessings from my happy to kitchen to yours,