Zio’s Imitation Spice Mix – Spice Mix Series 1
You know when you go to those Italian restaurants and they set a plate of olive oil and spices in front of you and that fresh from the oven bread to dip into it? Sometimes they sprinkle in a bit of balsamic vinegar (See? I DO have a problem!) You tear into it like a starving person, gobbling up every drippy, savory bite, and feel
bad full by the time the entree arrives. But then, since you can’t finish your meal, leftovers for lunch! Yay! Or is that only me? Good, I’m not the only weirdo.
Despite having been to Rome and all over Italy and eaten real Italian food, I still like a few big chain restaurants. I know… I’m terrible. One I really like is Zio’s Italian Kitchen, if for nothing else but the dipping bread and oil alone. There’s just something so delicious about the rosemary rolls (which I’ve also duplicated) and that spiced oil. Did you know you can actually get a small bucket of it from them?? It’s something like $5 for a pound but it has to be kept in the fridge as it has parmesan cheese in it. Tired of spending so much and it going bad quickly if I didn’t use it every day, I decided to make my own.
If you’d like the exact taste of Zio’s, add a few shreds of parmesan to it when you serve. It can be sprinkled on pizza crust, into any pasta dish you’d like, or a way to marinade meats. So versatile! I keep mine in nifty little glass jars with a good seal but you can store it in a cool dry place in an airtight container.