A brimming basin of crème fraîche with vivid herb oil and God’s own sourdough

I was in the capital recently, and picked up an Evening Standard. Reading Jimi Famurewa’s consistently enjoyable column, I noticed a review of Carlo Scotto’s Xier and XR restaurants.

He describes how he and a mate accompanied their non-alcoholic pre-prandials with

“…a terrific, bronzed dome of God’s own sourdough: oven-warm, fragrant with rosemary and ably supported by a dunk tank of herbed crème fraîche, trickled with vivid chive and parsley oil….”

Well, I thought that combination sounded grand, so I thought I would give it a go with the Tried and Supplied founder’s pre-birthday celebratory champagne. And, it was, indeed, a big success; praise all around.

Having looked up the meaning of ‘dunk tank’ I didn’t like the sound of that too much; ‘brimming basin’ sounded much more the thing. Hence I have rechristened it.

Add the herb purée, the bi-product of the herb oil, to any stock or stew you may have in the making.

You can make the vivid herb oil a few days ahead. Ideally, make the crème fraîche dip just ahead of when you aim to serve it as it can go slightly watery at the edges. If it does, it’s not a problem – soak up the watery liquid with a bit of kitchen paper, and stir to incorporate.

For other ideas for canapés on Saucy Dressings follow this link.

Recipe for a brimming basin of crème fraîche with vivid herb oil and God’s own sourdough

Serves 8 – 10


  • 1 small sourdough loaf – about 500g/just over 1 lb
  • couple of tbsps of olive oil
  • three or four sprigs of rosemary
  • 500ml/2 cups crème fraîche
  • 2 small lemons – juice and zest
  • 1 tbsp herbes de Provence
  • salt and pepper
  • 25g/1 oz flat leaf parsley
  • 25g/1 oz fresh chives
  • 160 ml/⅔ cup olive oil
  • 160 ml/⅔ cup sunflower oil

Method for making the vivid herb oil

  1. Bring a pan of water to the boil, and blanch the herbs, stalks and all, for just a few seconds – until they are just beginning to wilt.
  2. Refresh them under cold running water for a minute or two and drain.
  3. Blend, together with the oils, to a rough purée. Season to taste.
  4. Pass through a fine sieve into a small glass jug, cover and keep in the fridge.

Method for making the dip

  1. Empty the crème fraîche into a bowl. Grate over the zest, squeeze over the lemon juice and stir in. Add the herbes de Provence. Stir again. Season to taste.

Method for the rosemary bread

  1. Preheat the oven to 210°C.
  2. Oil the sourdough loaf with some olive oil, sprinkle over a little textured salt (Malden ideally), tuck the sprigs of rosemary on top of and around the loaf, and heat for just five minutes.

To serve

  1. Make some spiral troughs in the dip with the handle of a teaspoon. Drizzle in some of the vivid herb oil.
  2. Slice the loaf, and serve, still warm, with the anointed dip.
creme fraiche dip recipe
Make some spiral troughs with the handle of a teaspoon and drizzle the vivid green herb oil into them.
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