Comin' atcha today- a lifetime's supply worth of butter and olive oil disguised as one delectable Italian treat. Don't even think about fighting it. Just don't. After all, it's unofficially the season of butter, sugar and extra calories, and who's going to say no to those things?! OBVIOUSLY not someone who writes a food blog (and probably not someone who is reading it, either). As I mentioned in this post, Mr. RC and I do our best to sniff out the local cuisines wherever we travel. Bagna càuda (meaning 'hot bath'), a dish traditionally enjoyed in the fall and winter, was one of the things that made the list to try in Torino, but we somehow never actually got around to eating it (despite the fact that it was on every single menu). When I mentioned it to my Mom and Grandma, asking if they had ever heard of it (since it's from the same region as our family), they both exclaimed "Oh yes! Oh Bagna càuda! Of course, of course! It's delicious!". So even though I didn't try it in Italy, I've apparently eaten several times in my younger years. I mean, phew! What a relief! Heaven forbid if I'd have to go back to Italy just to eat something! Obviously, I have no recollection of ever having tried this dish (reported to be one of the Pope's favorite treats!), and since I missed the opportunity to eat it in Italy, I figured, why not recreate it at home as a holiday treat? So Mr. RC and I did just that. After all, I had some first-press olive oil on hand (featured in my Italy Gift Guide), just waiting to be used in a special recipe. In fact, this dish uses so much olive oil you could consider it the olive oil version of fondue. There's also some garlic in there somewhere, some butter (Because when you're already using so much olive oil, why not?!) and anchovies. While I was slightly put off at the idea of the anchovies, they actually melt right in, leaving behind only a salty, slightly fishy flavor. The whole thing is served with vegetables for dipping and bread to catch the drips. It's certainly not a dish for everyone, and it's definitely not a dish to be eaten all the time, or alone (I now understand why every menu listed it as an item to be shared), but for something that requires very little effort, it's a perfect special-occasion (*cough* the holidays *cough*) treat.
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 8 to 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 ounce tin of anchovy fillets (plus the olive oil they're marinating in)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Veggies (such as raw carrots, bell peppers, celery, broccoli, cauliflower; roasted potatoes, beets) and rustic bread, for serving
In a small saucepan set over low heat, combine the olive oil, garlic and anchovies. Begin stirring, using the back of your spoon to mash the anchovies and garlic into more of a paste. Continue cooking, smashing and stirring for about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter. You can eat it as is, or, for a smoother mixture, blend it for a few seconds with an immersion blender.
Eat immediately with vegetables and bread. You can also serve it in a fondue pot set over a warming candle to ensure that it stays heated (was it does not taste good once it cools).