Monday, January 25, 2010

Bagna Cauda - or what was that sauce last night...

Bagna Cauda or "hot bath" is a warm Italian garlic and anchovy sauce. It is really easy and a fun and different way to make a lovely winter salad. Throw out that ranch dip package! It was a big hit last night - even the kids ate their veggies this way! Use a few or all the vegetables below - none need to be peeled, just washed. Personally, a little anchovy goes a long way for me so this is my mellower version of a Jamie Oliver recipe.

Bagna Cauda with Raw Winter Vegetables serves about 6

7 cloves of garlic peeled
1 and 1/2 cups whole milk
4 anchovy fillets (try to find good italian ones and don't use paste!)
2/3 to 3/4 cup olive oil
3 or 4 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
grind of pepper

8 baby carrots
couple small raw beets thinly sliced - use a mandolin if you have one
1/2 head small cauliflower broken into florets
1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
bunch of small radishes (last night we had watermelon radishes thinly sliced - gorgeous!)
8 stalks of celery or a small celeriac root peeled and finely sliced

In a pan put the garlic, milk and anchovy and bring to a low simmer - let cook about 20 min or until the garlic is tender - the milk will curdle, but not to worry. Take an immersion blender and whip it all up (if you don't have one of these handy hand held blenders, just use a regular one) then slowly add the 2/3 cup oil and 3 tablespoons vinegar. If you like it to be a little thicker add the rest of the oil and if you want it to have a little more bite add another tablespoon of vinegar. Pepper to taste - it shouldn't need salt as the anchovies should be enough. Serve warm in a dipping bowl with a little drizzle of olive oil, surrounded by your vegetables.

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