Many years ago I saw Nigella Lawson make this exotic and crazy sounding dip for veggies. Since then I've always loved serving bagna cauda and veggies with cocktails, at one recent party I put a little bowl of fresh mozzarella boccacini nearby and soon every body was dipping the cheese and in raptures about what a perfect combo the two were. Well, inspired I took the two and turned it into a flatbread, adding a little preserved lemon to boost the flavor and give it a unique twist. The flatbread in the picture has half with cheese half without, to see which we preferred, and while both were good the cheese half was better as the creamy mozzarella really helped temper the salty bite of the bagna cauda. Perfect with cocktails or as a light lunch for two with a chopped salad of undressed radish, tomatoes and cucumbers on the side.
As to ingredients, for bagna cauda I prefer oil packed anchovies since you are essentially melting them into some oil. I also prefer vinegar packed capers to add just a little bit of extra kick. And if you happen to have homemade preserved meyer lemons on hand...well aren't you just super lucky! All that said, this is a pantry dish so just use what you have; since it is getting baked it is very forgiving. Oh and you will have leftover bagna cauda with this recipe, it will store in the fridge, but should be brought to room temp again before using/serving. —MGrace
one 10" flatbread
pizza dough, I use a 50/50 all purpose and whole wheat flour mix, but store bought is fine
anchovy, oil packed work best, finely minced
capers, finely chopped
preserved lemon, finely chopped
small garlic cloves, grated on a microplane
parsley, finely minced
salt and pepper as needed
package fresh mozzarella boccacini
In This Recipe
Heat olive oil, anchovy, capers, preserved lemon and garlic in a heavy skillet over medium low heat. It should get warm and the anchovies will start to melt into the oil and everything will look like a paste suspended in the oil. Pour over the minced parsley in a bowl and let cool slightly. Taste for seasoning and add salt & peper as needed, though you probably won't need much of either.
Heat oven to 450, heat a heavy cast iron skillet over medium high.
Roll out or stretch by hand the pizza dough to an 8-10" round (whatever will fit inside your skillet). Letting it rest for five minutes if it is shrinking and not holding shape. Once the oven is hot, ensure that the skillet is hot and turn off heat. Place pizza dough into dry skillet and top generously with the bagna cauda, making sure it is well stirred (it will separate as it sits) to get a distribution of dip and oil. Then tear about 8-12 mozzarella boccacini into small pieces and distribute evenly.
Bake until crust is firm and browned on the bottom and cheese is lightly browned, about 12-15 minutes. Transfer to a board and cut. You may have some pools of oil where the dip was not totally absorbed into the dough, these are the extra tasty pieces!