Bread Dipping Sauce

Forgive me if I’ve asked before…A small local, white tablecloth Italian restaurant (actually run by fake Italians… Albanians :grinning:) serves great bread from the Bronx. With it they serve a dip that is fantastic and I want to duplicate it. It is red not herby green. I know it contains olive oil, garlic, parsley some kind of tomato product, either sun dried or paste, I think maybe paprika, maybe fresh basil. Maybe this is a common recipe but I don’t know it. Any insight would be appreciated, thank you!

Could it be ajvar?

My guess is that it will be something Albanian. Dips, even the oil/vinegar one beloved of Italian restaurants in America, don’t seem to be that common outside that country. I cannot recall ever seeing them in Italy, here in the UK or Italian restaurants in Spain and Cyprus.

I agree. The closest you’ll get is olive oil on the table if you want to dip bread in it, which is not something I see a lot of Italians doing, either. Wonder if it’s an Italian-American thing.

I’m not familiar with ajvar but looking at the images and recipes online I would say no, what I’m looking for is more like flavored olive oil.

Well, then I guess your best bet is to return and ask the owners themselves.

Something like this at the bottom of the bowl with oil poured over? Pretty common in nyc.

Sometimes there’s a bit of powdered parmesan added.

I’m guessing it’s a house made concoction.

Best to ask the restaurant


The red is most likely tomato powder. You can buy it online. We use it for our diping oil.


Wild guess here.

Maybe it’s all the leftover pasta sauce from customer orders, combined, reheated with a bit of olive oil, and then replated as “dipping sauce” for bread.

It would not be the first time a restaurant has repurposed leftover food.

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I find these kinds of projects pretty fun to build by taste, but I have a few questions…

1.) Was this cooked?

2.) The texture of sundried tomatoes is pretty apparent, so I am assuming this was blended?

3.) Could the tomatoes have been roasted instead of sundried?

4.) Was it spicy at all?

  1. Can you post a pic

There are some Italian chile oils available.

So many rabbit holes

I would think it’s a little chile oil or bomba added to the dipping oil.

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I go to a place in Tenerife that has the best pizza I know outside of Italy. They always have an Italian chilli oil on the table for drizzling on the pizza.

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Our favorite pizza place in Berlin (run by Neapolitan punks) also has chili oil. It’s pretty standard in most Italian pizzerias I’ve been to in Berlin and other larger German cities. Can’t have it without :yum:


I’ve tried that but they just smile diplomatically and dont tell me anything.

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not cooked
no, not blended but sundried tomatoes might be finely chopped
yes, possibly roast tomatoes
not spicy hot but maybe some crushed red pepper flakes in it

Possibly, but I haven’t noticed the presence of dried herbs. I am going to buy some the next time I’m in Trader Joe’s

That was my first thought. I see ajvar more as a spread; but, if it’s in a little bowl, I could see scooping it up.