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Posted: 30 January 2010 at 17:17
Bagna Cauda is a wonderful, garlicky dip that is eaten hot and dates back thousands of years. It is one of those dishes that will amaze you for its simplicity combined with an incredibly rich taste. It's a dish best served in late fall or winter, when the hearth is warm and the relaxed sharing of good conversation provides the perfect backdrop for a shared meal.
Here's what Piedmonte Magazine has to say about it:
Here are the ingredients you'll need:
1 jar or tin of anchovies, in olive oil
To prepare this wonderful sauce, drain the anchovies, then mash them into a paste with a fork and set aside.
Take 8 ounces of Porcini, Crimini or Portobello mushrooms and chop them up really fine. I used Baby Portobellas and they work out equally well. In a saucepan, heat up a good splash of olive oil and a tablespoon butter, then put the mushrooms in to saute over medium-low heat. Add a splash of brandy as they start to sizzle. Once the mushrooms have cooked down and released most of their water, add the crushed garlic head, about 10 cloves or so. Saute everything for another 10 to 15 minutes on low, but don't let the garlic brown.
Add the mashed anchovies, 3/4 cup olive oil and 1 stick butter. Then, add about 1/2 teaspoon finely-ground salt and about 1 tablespoon fresh-cracked black pepper. Finally, add another healthy splash of brandy. The alcohol will evaporate, leaving behind the brandy's flavor to mix with the anchovies, which give this dish its unique taste.
Bring up to a strong simmer, then reduce heat to low and let cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently so nothing sticks to bottom of pan. At this point it is done, and you can cover it and keep it warm until serving time. A good thing about this is you can also refrigerate it and reheat for the next day - just don't microwave!
A proper bagna cauda should always have fresh-made, hot bread and fresh vegetables for dipping. Any vegetables are good; we prefer celery, bell peppers and carrots. It seems that carrots go so well with the flavours of bagna cauda that it is almost as they were made JUST for this!
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