A distant but lasting memory popped into my brain of a meal I had at a restaurant years ago-after hours. The owner had just returned from Italy and brought back a bottle of private reserve olive oil. The following "recipe" was how the dip was presented. This was my first time tasting this glorious, much celebrated combination and I've been hooked ever since. Your assignment: find the best Italian bread, olive oil and balsamic available. Whatever you do, NO dried Italian herbs; no "lite" olive oil are allowed. The only thing I could possibly think of that would make this sublime is to float a few fresh basil leaf ribbons on top....but that all depends on what you plan to serve with this appetizer. A bottle of good Italian wine would bring it all together nicely, rhetorically speaking.
- NOTE: Play around a little bit with the olive oil/balsamic vinegar proportions. There should however always be more olive oil than vinegar.
- Slice up bread into appetizer sizes and place on a platter.
- In a pretty shallow bowl or plate, pour the olive oil then drizzle the balsamic vinegar around and across the pool of olive oil.
- Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired.
- Take a piece of the bread and lightly dunk into the mixture. Take a bite!
- Now the Roman gods are happy and you should be, too!