Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bagna Cauda

I've seen recipes for this hot vegetable dip before but this is the first time I've ever tried it. It's not the lightest of dips but for the amount that stuck to the vegetables it really doesn't matter that much. It was just perfect. It tasted beautiful, salty, and rich but not too rich.

The recipe I followed is from one of my cookbooks entitled Nibbled. The whole principal of the book is to make mini, canapé-esque food. Most of their food in the recipes is just cut in order to make it small (a frittata for example) and many of the recipes are either too simple they're obvious to anyone with even the slightest culinary skills or require such exotic ingredients that only someone living by the Green Market in New York could find all the stuff they require. Criticism aside, the principle of having a meal made up entirely of bite sized food is fun. It's something that would be fun in a restaurant to have one night where you can choose from a select number of mini food for a fixed amount. Variety would be the key.

So as far as bagna cauda goes (the words meaning hot sauce in the Piedmonte region of Italy), the recipe called for assorted crudités such as celery, babry carrots, baby beans and radishes, sping onions and quartered fennel. According to Wikipedia "The dish is eaten by dipping raw, boiled or roasted vegetables: especially cardoon, celery, cauliflower, peppers, and onions. It is traditionally eaten during the autumn and winter months and must be served hot, as the name suggests." As you can see in the above photo, I went with cauliflower, carrots, scallions, green beens, broccoli, and mushrooms. That's what I had on hand so that's what went in. I figure you can always experiment with anything you might have on hand. Rolls of salami? Cubes of cheese? Go nuts.

Bagna Cauda

400 ml (14 fl oz) cream...I used 10%
2 tbs olive oil
6 tbs of anchovy paste
2 garlic cloves, crushed

1. Bring cream to boil in a saucepan, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the cream has thickened and reduced by about half. (Mine wasn't very thick which assured that there wouldn't be too much sauce sticking to every vegetable thus making the dip too heavy. So I suggest leaving it liquid enough.)
2. Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium heat and cook anchovy paste and garlic for 1-2 minutes, stirring to mix ingredients.
3. Add anchovy mixture to cream and whisk for about 1 minute.
4. Pour sauce in a serving bowl and serve with crudités to dip in the hot sauce.

1 comment:

Blue Zebra said...

Nice post! I love finger food and bagna cauda rocks, doesn't it?! :D