Herbed Olive Oil Dip

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Herbed Olive Oil Dip

provided by Jim Gordon
At our house my wife does 90 percent of the cooking. But when it comes to grilling outdoors -- I am the man.

I get a certain primal satisfaction out of lighting the fire, braving the heat and watching vigilantly as the flank steak, bell peppers or skewered shrimp gain just the right touch of char.

The only thing I don't like about it is that the grill chef can be too busy grilling to enjoy the friends or family members who have come over. That is, until Cathie started making a great little olive oil condiment spiked with garlic, Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs that's drizzled on grilled bread as an appetizer.

Now the guests have to hang out near the grill (and thus near me) so they can snag the slices of toasted baguette as I pull them hot off the grill. They spoon a bit of the oil on the crisp grilled bread and keep me company until the rest of the meal is ready.

The key to this preparation is to use fresh (not dried) herbs, and to find some real Italian Parmesan (Parmigiano-Reggiano) to grate in.

Since it relies solely on wine-friendly ingredients, almost any dry wine I can think of tastes good with this dish, from a crisp Sauvignon Blanc to a plump Chardonnay to a big old Zinfandel.

1 cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh herbs, finely chopped (mix and match basil, parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme)
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese
1 to 2 teaspoon finely minced garlic (depending on how much you like garlic)

Stir the herbs and garlic into the olive oil at least 30 minutes before serving and up to two hours before serving. Any longer and the herbs will discolor. Just before serving, stir in the grated cheese. Set out in a bowl with a spoon for ladling on to grilled bread.
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