The expression, “it’s my bread and butter,” takes on a whole new meaning when you’ve spent a great deal of your career teaching bread baking and then starting an Artisan Bread program like the one we have here at Nino Salvaggio’s.
Even more so for us because we happen to LOVE great bread.
And we use the term love as in “I love to breathe.”
Maybe it’s not so much a love as it is an essential part of our being.
Now we’ve blogged (and bragged) a bit about Nino’s Artisan Breads and even about our love of great butter, but great bread has another partner, one that is more European.
And that’s oil – more specifically, olive oil.
And just like great Artisan breads, which are simple in their components yet complex in their structure, these oils are products of their conditions. That includes the soil they’re grown in, how they are harvested and how they are processed.
All oils, and particularly all OLIVE oils, are not created equal.
Not even close.
The same is true with wine. Great grapes are just the potential for great wine.
Now, we’re not on a rant about what makes a great olive oil, or for that matter, a great wine. We’re simply stating that in the case of enjoying olive oil with great bread, choosing a quality oil is as important as choosing a good wine to enjoy with a good meal.
And we’ll give you a few of our olive oil favorites later.
Olive Oil and our Nino’s Artisan Breads are a match made in heaven.
So, presuming that you DO enjoy olive oil with your bread, or at the least that you’re open to the idea of it, let us talk beyond just enjoying olive oil and bread on its own and open the world of dipping oils.
That is olive oils with stuff.
By stuff, we mean adding additional flavors (i.e. ingredients) to the oil, and by doing so, adding extra interest to the bread you’re enjoying.
It’s the meat between the bun so to speak.
Dipping oils are traditionally served in a shallow pool in a plate or small platter, sometimes at each person’s individual place setting and alternatively in a larger plate for everyone to share.
Besides enjoying an oil all on its own, you can sprinkle other ingredients on top of the oil. Perhaps the most common is grated Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper. Crushed red pepper flakes are a more visual substitute.
But there are many other fantastic combinations of ingredients you can add to your olive oil to spice up your dipping enjoyment.
And as you make your oil and bread choices, here are some of our thoughts on bread choices and a few of our personal olive oil favorites:
Generally, bread with a well-baked, toasted crust makes the most interesting dipping bread.
If serving your dipping oil in a community serving plate, the bread should be cut bite sized so that people don’t have to double dip.
Choose neutral-flavored breads (like Italian or French) when you excessively garnish dipping oil recipes so that the flavor of the oil recipe doesn’t clash with the flavor of the bread. Select a simple dipping oil with few, if any, other ingredients when choosing a bread with its own flavorful ingredients (like olives, cheese, peppers etc.).
And here are a few of our olive oil favorites for dipping:
Salvaggio Extra Virgin Olive Oil Mediterranean Blend
Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1st Cold Press 100% Italian “Private Selection”
Adademia Barilla Extra Virgin Olive Oil I.G.P. Toscano
Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil 100% Italian “Estate Select”
Pick a bread, an oil, and a recipe. Then, most importantly, pick some great company to enjoy one of bread’s most popular condiment partners: dipping oil. If you’re looking for more ways to use this versatile ingredient, read an article from Martha Stewart, HERE.