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Author Notes: This recipe is based on one from my husband's grandmother, Angelina. She was a great cook: she ran a restaurant in Greenwich Village, NY during the hipster-beatnik days. After selling the restaurant, she lived a full life with my husband's family until she died at the ripe old age of 99. Bagna cauda ("hot bath") is a dish for which there are as many recipes as there are cooks. This is my interpretation of her recipe (more butter, more garlic, more heat). Note: for a delicious variation use all butter, not olive oil, saute the remaining ingredients until softened and then smoosh into soft butter. Use the butter on a grilled beef or lamb or steaky fish like tuna of swordfish. —Savorykitchen
Makes about 1 cup
cup olive oil
tablespoons minced garlic
can anchovies or 6 salt-packed anchovies (see below)
tablespoons minced parsley
pinches hot pepper flakes
salt to taste
raw and steamed vegetables for dipping
- Warm olive oil and butter in saucepan. Add the garlic and anchovies. The pan will start to seethe and bubble as the ingredients warm through. Occasionally, use a wooden spoon to break up the anchovies.
- When the garlic is softened and the anchovies are broken up add the parsley, the juice of 1/2 of the lemon, pepper and red pepper flakes.
- Taste the bagna cauda. Add more salt or lemon juice to taste. You might not need much salt, as the anchovies are pretty salty on their own.
- Keep the bagna cauda warm and use it as a dip for vegetables. Raw: carrots, cardoons, celery, cherry tomatoes, scallions, celery root, Belgian endive, etc.. Steamed: cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.
Hydrating salt-packed anchovies
- If you can get them, salt-packed anchovies are just wonderful - full of flavor, fat and meaty. You can get them in specialty markets. Try to find one that does a good business; they're more likely to offer anchovies out of a big can, otherwise, you'll have to buy a tin for yourself. Any extra anchovies can be stored, covered with salt, in the fridge.
- To hydrate the anchovies cover them with water, changing it every 15 minutes or so. After 3-4 changes, the anchovies will the soft and plump. Using your fingers or a butter knife, split the fillets off the spine (this is easier than it sounds). Scrape off any ooky, slimy bits.
- If the fillets don't want to separate, your fish needs a little more soaking - let it go in for one more soaking.
- When you're done, you'll have two fillets and a backbone. I toss the backbones as they're a little too spiky for my taste.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Fondue