Author Notes: 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
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 pound green beans, preferably haricots verts, ends trimmed
- 4 lemon wedges (optional)
- 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.