Olive Oil Dip with Fresh Herbs is easy to make and it’s one of the best starters for many meals, but it certainly is a must before indulging in an Italian meal! Whenever we go to our favorite Italian restaurant, I can’t wait to dip chunks of their warm crusty Italian bread in a bowl of olive oil and herb dip. I have a bit of issue with the amount of herbs that they add to the bowl though! It has become more scant over the years, and that is just too little of a good thing! When I make this dip at home, I add generous amounts of chopped fresh herbs and spices with just the right balance of heat and saltiness. I love each and every culinary herb, but when several herbs are mixed together the resulting aroma and flavor is out of this world. We also have a fresh herb mixture in Persian cuisine that is called ‘sabzi khordan,’ which is enjoyed before meals, as an appetizer with bread and cheese ‘loghmeh,’ or by itself on the side of most Persian dishes. The difference is that the herbs for sabzi khordan are cut into bite size pieces, and not chopped.
From left to right: French tarragon, Italian parsley, and Greek oregano are aromatic and are a great addition to this olive oil dip. When these herbs are chopped fine with a sharp knife, their flavor is released into olive oil and transforms this beneficial oil into an extraordinary dip for a loaf of crusty bread.
From left to right: Rosemary, Thai basil, German thyme are also perfect to use in this dip because of their intense spicy flavor. Olive oil is infused with these flavors and that of garlic and ginger. You may use all, or some of these herbs, or even add some of your own favorites. The only herbs that are not suitable for this dip are the very delicate ones such as, cilantro, and sweet basil, which tend to brown and get mushy beyond the first day that the dip is made. The other herbs that I’ve mentioned keep well for up to 3 days in the fridge after they are mixed with the spices and olive oil.
Finely chop fresh herbs, use the leaves and soft stems only (avoid tough and woody stems). Add minced garlic (use a garlic press or chop very fine with a knife). Peel and mince the fresh ginger and add to the bowl. Add the kosher salt and red pepper flakes and mix well.
Stir in 6 tablespoons of a high quality olive oil with a delicious and palatable flavor. Use the dip right away or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This dip may be prepared with dried herbs, but fresh herbs have superior flavor and texture. If all the herbs are not available, a combination of 3 parts parsley to 1 part rosemary mixed with the rest of spices makes a very fragrant dip also.
A simple side of sliced fresh mozzarella cheese adds a variation to serving this bread dip and makes it a more interesting appetizer.
I usually serve a bowl of pitted kalamata olives on the side as well, which tastes really good with this dip!
To serve, add couple of tablespoons of the prepared herb/olive oil mixture to a small bowl and drizzle more olive oil for dipping. Offer pieces of crusty French baguette, or Italian bread for everyone to dip. You may add your own sides and create an inviting spread around this simply delicious bread dip. You will love the ease and convenience of putting it together ahead of time and everyone will enjoy these delectable bites.
- 2 TBSP finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 2 TBSP finely chopped fresh oregano
- 2 TBSP finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- 2 TBSP finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp minced fresh ginger root
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 6 TBSP high quality olive oil
- Pieces of crusty bread
- Fresh mozzarella cheese slices
- Pitted kalamata olives
- Extra high quality olive oil for dipping
- Add crushed garlic cloves, minced ginger root, red pepper flakes and kosher salt to a bowl and mix well for couple of minutes to incorporate. Set aside.
- Use the leaves and only tender stems of the herbs. Use a sharp knife to finely chop the herbs, and add them to the bowl and mix into the garlic blend.
- Add 6 tablespoon high quality olive oil to the mixture. At this point the herbs may be used in the dip or stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in the refrigerator; the olive oil preserves the herbs and keeps them from turning brown and spoiling.
- To make the dip: Add 1 tablespoons of the herb mixture to ¼ cup of olive oil and stir to mix. If you find that the olive oil in the herb mixture has solidified in the fridge, simply leave it out for 5-10 minutes before mixing it in the extra olive oil.
- Serve with pieces of crusty Italian bread, or French baguette, slices of fresh mozzarella, and pitted kalamata olives