Olive oil is the key ingredient in all kinds of Mediterranean sauces and condiments, from chunky relishes made with chopped nuts, herbs, and aromatic vegetables to creamy, egg-enriched aiolis. All of the following classic preparations can be made with relatively inexpensive all-purpose extra-virgin olive oils.
For centuries, French and Italian cooks have infused oil with herbs and chiles by gently heating them together. Use infused oils to baste roasted meats, make vinaigrettes, and drizzle over grilled fish.
The oil in this simple preparation is used both to cook and to preserve sliced lemons. Smash or chop the preserved lemons to brighten up other relishes and dressings, or serve them as a tart condiment on their own.
Tossed in pasta, spread over crostini, or stirred into soup, this versatile sauce, with origins in both France and Italy, takes its fresh flavor from basil and its earthy bite from olive oil and garlic.
Use mild-flavored olives to make this briny, rough-textured olive-and-anchovy sauce, favored by cooks in France. Smear it on roasted potatoes, use it as a dip for vegetables, or stir in more oil to make a thinner sauce for drizzling over fish.