Spicy Garlic-Infused Italian Dip
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves (med-large sized) This IS garlicky - I warn you
1 tablespoon chili peppers
dash of salt and pepper
loaf of French bread or soft bread sticks
Cut French bread into 1 inch thick slices (slice until ALMOST to bottom so it keeps the loaf shape) or package of soft style Italian bread sticks.
Wrap loaf or sticks in foil and place in preheated oven (350 degrees) oven for 5 minutes.
Remove 6 med/large garlic teeth from bunch. Quickly remove skins and lightly crush by placing each tooth under a large knife blade held flat. Pound with fist on the flat blade to crush the garlic. This quick motion with both loosen the skin and start to crush the garlic in one movement. Remove the loosened skin and toss. Repeat with all garlic. Chop up the remainder of the garlic. Then use the flattened blade to again repeatedly pound on the garlic to mush it up/crush it. Or grind it up in a mortar and pestle. It is best if semi-crushed and semi-chopped consistency.
Place 1 tablespoon of garlic in a SMALL flat serving plate or cup. (Best is a really small saucer or sushi mini plate.) Add 1/8 tablespoon or a good sized dash of chili peppers. Add 4 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar. Mix all together. Add 2 tablespoon Olive Oil. (Most people make the mistake of adding equal parts oil and vinegar or more oil to vinegar. The oil will separate quickly and rise to the top. No-one likes a piece of bread soaked simply in oil... yuck!) Mix it together quickly to get the ingredients to bind together. Consistency should be a little more runny than apple sauce. (note: the runnier it is, the less spicy/garlicky it is. This dish can be made that way but is REALLY appreciated best by garlic lovers).
Pull warm bread out of oven and begin dipping into this 'sauce' mixture. It is peppery and definitely garlicky. Not for the faint of heart. :)
As the batch is eaten you'll need to re-mix small batches of the remaining garlic, pepper, vinegar and oil as indicated above. If you mix the entire batch at once the oil will quickly separate to the top. Every slice of bread you dip will mostly be soaked in oil and the good stuff will be far below. No fun.
Hint: serve this as an appetizer before a refreshing (non-spicy) salad or a mild pasta with little-to-no garlic. This dish will be your garlic high note and best followed by either refreshing clean salad flavours or a mild, possibly creamy pasta dish. Anything strong after this dish will overwhelm the palette.
Alternate: If freshly crushed garlic has too much of a bit for you, you may first wrap the peeled garlic teeth in foil and bake for 20- 30 minutes at 350 with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Remove the garlic, let cool a little, chop up into small pieces and use this way. This will be a mellower, caramelized sweeter flavour to the dish so use less chili peppers or they will kill the sweetness of the garlic.
Side note: I sometimes quickly mix this up and mix a little over some freshly cooked pasta as a dish in and unto itself.