Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dip into this Summer Bagna Cauda!

C' can do better than ranch dip with those perfect little veggies at your farmer's markets can't you? Don't they deserve a little more respect than that? Don't your guests deserve something a little more creative?? I thought so. And with this amazingly easy take on bagna cauda, that classic Mediterranean dipping sauce that is usually thought of as a fall and winter dish and served warm, this version which is served at room temp is perfect right now! Butter, garlic, olive oil, anchovies....are you freaking kidding me? If that doesn't get your pleasure receptors fired up then perhaps you'd be better off at the model railroaders blog or maybe

The rest of you, make your plans for a farmers market visit this weekend, then invite a few friends over, pop the corks on a few bottles of icy cold dry rosé, which is the perfect accompaniment to this treat, and spread some pungent summer love.*** *** ***
Summer Bagna Cauda With Vegetables
from the New York Times
recipe adapted from “Biba’s Northern Italian Cooking.”
Serves 4

From the NYT: "In Italy, bagna cauda, or hot anchovy dip, is usually served during the winter months. But it’s also delicious eaten at room temperature with fresh summer vegetables."

For the bagna cauda:
¼ cup butter
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
8 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry and minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To finish:
½ pound asparagus, trimmed and blanched
1 bunch small radishes, cleaned and trimmed
1 red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise and seeded
1 bunch baby carrots, peeled and trimmed
1 sweet potato, sliced and roasted
1 small bunch celery, cleaned, stalks separated
1 endive, leaves separated.

1. Prepare the bagna cauda: in a small saucepan melt the butter in the oil. When the butter foams, add the garlic and cook over medium heat until the garlic just begins to color. Add the anchovies, reduce the heat to very low and stir until the anchovies have dissolved. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Just before serving, arrange the trimmed vegetables on a large platter and serve with the anchovy dip.

Cooks note: The NYT article listed the veggies above, but feel free to sub at will. I used peppers, baby carrots, French radishes, and roasted sweet potato (which was a big hit by the way). Next time I do it I'll also serve some crusty bread alongside.

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