Tuesday, January 5, 2010

a winner! and bagna cauda for your day

I know why you're here, or at least, I'm willing to guess.
Have you gone over to Buy Olympia to take a look at that calendar? Gotten a little attached? Realized that they are out of stock? Well I must say, your goals were so nice to hear, I wish I had one for everyone. But, someone's got to win, and let's all be happy for her.
Yay Laurie! Send me an email and we'll get that up on your wall pronto.

But don't be too sad. I've got something for the rest of you too.

I know some of you might be cleansing after the holidays. That's all fine and good. Cut out the hourly stale holiday cookies. Drink more water and less eggnog. Go for a walk already. All good. I support you in all your efforts, even if it's just from my couch.

But whatever you're doing, promise me one thing: Let's not leave off the sauce. Who knows how long life will be. If this were my last day, I'd want to dip it in Bagna Cauda.

Say it out loud. Try to pronounce it. How ever you say it, it sounds lovely. I hear it means something like "warm bath" in Italian.

I'd venture to say that this would taste good on most things. Butter, olive oil, anchovies, garlic, thyme, chile, salt. That's it. Give your broiled fish a warm bath. Toss your pasta in a little warm bath. Dip raw vegetables in a warm bath. Dip roasted vegetables in a warm bath You get the idea.

I made a little fancy winter salad, based off of a recipe that a friend passed on from Suzanne Goin. This is not a "Oh I need to eat plain celery all day because it's the new year" salad. I'm voting for the eradication of those altogether. This is a salad that makes love to the vegetables within it, a salad to eat with your hands and let the bagna cauda drip down your arm. Think of it. A warm bath for you. Fabulous.

Bagna Cauda with a Winter Salad
adapted from Suzanne Goin, Sunday Suppers at Lucques
(This makes a big batch. You can halve it if you like, or refrigerate any leftovers and rewarm it when you find other things that must be dipped in it.)

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 tablespoons butter
About 3 tablespoons chopped anchovies- this is 5-7 of the salt packed kind
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 dried chile de arbol, minced
2 teaspoons fresh minced thyme leaves
heaping 1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over very low heat. Add the anchovies and chile and stir with a wooden spoon until the anchovies melt into the sauce, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme, take off the heat, and let the garlic finish cooking in the hot olive oil. Add the salt to taste.

For the Salad:
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
5 radishes, sliced
1 head endive, separated into individual leaves
1 head treviso, separated into individual leaves (treviso is a new vegetable to me- a cross between endive and raddichio. If you cannot find it, you can do two heads of endive, or just skip it altogether.
The juice of 1/2 lemon

Blanch the cauliflower by boiling it for 1 minute, then immersing it in cold water. In a sautee pan, toss the cauliflower and radishes with 1/2 cup bagna cauda over medium heat. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the radishes start to fade in color. Then toss in a large bowl with the endive and treviso until the entire mixture is coated in sauce, adding more if necessary. Dump onto a platter (or keep it in the bowl if you wish), squeeze the lemon juice over it, and grind the pepper grinder a few times over the top. Serve additional sauce for dipping on the side.


  1. OMG that sounds so good. If I had time to go to the market today (which I don't) I'd make it tonight. Instead we're having pizza, but at least it'll be homemade. Tomorrow, maybe a warm bath. Just what I need. xx

  2. Bagna Caulda was a once a year tradition with my Italian father's family. We would make it in fondue pots and spend the evening laughing, talking and dipping fresh vegetables around a common pot (or 4 -- he had a big family). The best part was using fresh crusty bread to catch any drips between the pot and your mouth -- hmmm.

    The only downside was that we oozed garlic from our pores for the next 3 days or so. Definitely not a meal you wanted to have before a job interview! :)

  3. This reminds me of a "Saturnalia" party my Classics class threw in college. We all lounged around on mattresses thrown on the floor dipping leaves and veggies in a sauce. Thanks for stirring up the memory.

  4. sigh* that's gorgeous!