Garlic-Infused Oil and Dipping Sauce
To make the garlic oil, in a small saucepan, gently heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant but not colored, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Cover and let steep for 1 hour. Strain into a sterilized bottle or jar and discard the garlic. Use within 24 hours. (Or store in a sterilized container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)
To make the dipping sauce, place the oil at room temperature in a shallow bowl or decorative plate. Swirl a drizzle of balsamic decoratively into the center. Sprinkle with the pepper flakes, salt, and ground black pepper, and top with a light coating of cheese.
Serve as a dip for hot bread.
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2004