I grew up eating fondue when we spent time with my grandparents in Germany and have many fond memories of dipping bread in cheese and occasionally losing a piece. This dish from Northern-Italy is just as fun for parties, and a perfect alternative for people who can’t have dairy. By cooking everything in the oven you save yourself a lot of tedious stirring, while also warming your house in the winter. All you really need to do is chop and prep some things to dip, and pour some wine, and you’ve got yourself the makings of a fun gathering.
6 ounces peeled garlic (either buy pre-peeled, or peel about 3 large heads)
about 6 ounces oil cured anchovy fillets (two normal size jars or 3 tins)
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Le Poivre, finely ground
Substitution: Use 5 ounces of red miso instead of anchovies for a vegan dish. It won’t need to break down as much as the anchovy so add it after 30 minutes of baking.
Some suggested items to dip:
Cardoon or artichoke – cooked until tender
Cauliflower – broken into florets and blanched
Green beans – blanched
Asparagus – blanched
Snap peas – blanched
Brussels sprouts – blanched, halved or quartered
Radishes – raw, halved or quartered
Carrots – raw, peeled
Sweet or hot peppers – raw, seeded and sliced
Persian cucumber – raw, quartered lengthwise
Endive – raw, separated into leaves
Fingerling potatoes – halved and boiled until tender
Bread – slices of filone or baguette
• Preheat the oven to 300°F. Add all ingredients to a heavy bottomed pot or enameled dutch oven, cover, and bake for one hour.
• While the bagna cauda cooks you can prep the items you want to dip. For blanching you don’t need to add salt to your water since the dip is salty, but make sure to shock the vegetables in ice water for the best texture. If making potatoes you can salt the water and add them when you are done blanching the other vegetables, they will have plenty of time to cook.
• Remove the pot from the oven, uncover, and mash the garlic and anchovies with a whisk or long fork. Transfer the sauce to a serving pot over a gentle heat source (sterno, induction burner, etc.), or serve directly from the pot if using a dutch oven (the residual heat should keep the sauce hot for some time, just be careful of the hot sides when dipping, or use forks).
• Wine is great with this meal. Barbera is a classic pairing, and I like Dolcetto and lighter Nebbiolo as well; I’ve also enjoyed Austrian Grüner Veltliner or Muscadet with some age on it when I was in the mood for a white. We had a dinner the other day where we had oysters first, and the Muscadet we had was also great with the bagna cauda.
• Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator, and can be reheated or used to make many other dishes. See below.
Mottainai tip – Taste the blanching water when you are finished with it, if you like the flavor it can serve as a great base for a soup.
Fun to Try
• Bagna freddo, mix leftover cold bagna cauda with mayonnaise (Duke’s is a great one), and lemon juice for an easy cold dip for vegetables.
• Cook your favorite kind of pasta, then toss with toasted breadcrumbs, bagna cauda, and Shabazi N38.
• Mix bagna cauda with chicken stock and Luberon N4 and use it braise whole endive, hakurei turnips, peeled pearl onions, and chicken thighs.
• Combine with Lula N.41 and bechamel and use as a base for a gratin or casserole.
Past December Recipes
2018 – Ozōzi w/ Shichimi
2017 – Autre Shichimi
2016 – Potato & Apple Gratin
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue
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