In preparing bagna cauda, a warm Italian oil dip with a paste of garlic and capers (and anchovies), you mash or puree the vegetables with more olive oil than they can hold until the oil separates and becomes boldly infused with the flavors of the vegetables. Our favorite experience with bagna cauda was in an unlikely place—Japan—where we were served a miso bagna cauda that inspired us to create this version. Try replacing the thin French green beans with asparagus or broccolini. —Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby
plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
chopped fresh thyme
green beans, preferably haricots verts, ends trimmed
Combine ½ cup of the olive oil, the garlic, capers, 2 teaspoons of the pepper, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the thyme in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture has a paste-like consistency. Set aside.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil begins to ripple, add the green beans, sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, and sear the beans until the skins get crinkly, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the beans as little as possible to achieve a nice, even sear.
Transfer the beans to a serving dish and spoon the bagna cauda on top. Garnish with the lemon wedges if desired.
Husband-wife team Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby are the chefs/owners of Vedge and the newly opened V Street in Philadelphia.
Chef Richard Landau has been at the forefront of the vegetarian dining scene since 1994, when he opened Horizons Café in Willow Grove. His mission has been to take the carnivore palate he grew up with and use it to translate vegetarian cuisine to a broader audience. During more than five years at Horizons off South Street in Philadelphia, he continued to push the envelope of meatless cuisine. In 2009, he was invited to serve the first-ever vegan dinner at the prestigious James Beard House in Manhattan. He is proud to have helped shape the culinary landscape in Philadelphia and is excited to further raise the bar for vegetable cuisine.
Chef Kate Jacoby joined Landau in 2001 to throw her full support behind Horizons, the restaurant she had already grown to know and love as a customer. Her work on the line beside Landau helped hone her pastry skills and shaped her approach to desserts. As pastry chef, she strives to innovate vegan desserts and bring fresh ideas to rich, quality ingredients. And, as sommelier at Vedge, Kate includes the bar among her responsibilities. Her appreciation and enthusiasm for wine is evident in the lovingly selected wine list.
Landau and Jacoby are both Philadelphia natives. They spend as much of their time as possible traveling the world to find natural beauty, inspiring cultures, and exciting new foods and drinks.