Simone Appetit: Bagna cauda to a new year
Bagna cauda! Bagna cauda! It sounds like a cheer in a foreign language welcoming in the new year. It also sounds like Magna Carta, which we all know is a document written in the 13th century by barons hoping to protect their rights and properties from a tyrannical king (thank you Google.)
So, really, what the heck is a bagna cauda besides a great Jeopardy question? Those of you who guessed it is a foreign language are correct. It is Piedmontese, a dialect spoken in Piedmont, Italy (not Oakland), and it means, “hot dip.”
And, come to think of it, it kind of does translate to a cheerful New Year welcome as it is traditionally served on that very occasion. In Italy, again, not Oakland. So I am right too.
Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to welcome 2014 than with a hot dip in Italy. Unless, of course, it is in Truckee-Tahoe. (Readers. Think of your readers Simone).
So let’s get this year right from the get-go and herald its arrival with something that will instantly become your new new year tradition — no matter where you are celebrating.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Sierra Nevada, I bring you, bagna cauda.
6 anchovy fillets, rinsed
Peeled cloves from one small had of garlic, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter
2 tbls. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt, or to taste
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp. chopped parsley
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Combine the anchovy, garlic, shallot, butter, olive oil and salt in a small saucepan; cook over medium heat about 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, move the oven rack to the top of the oven and preheat the broiler.
Trim the ends of three of the lemons to help them sit flat and halve each lemon cross-wise. Place lemons, cut side up, on a baking sheet and broil unit caramel brown, about 4 minutes. Grate the zest of the remaining unbroiled lemon into the butter mixture.
While the broiled lemons are still warm, squeeze juice from 4-5 halves (or more, to taste) into the butter mixture. Stir in the thyme, parsley, pepper and more salt (if desired).
Use any remaining lemon halves as garnish. For dipping, serve with cooked shrimp, sliced sweet peppers, cooked fingerling potatoes, cauliflower florets, mini carrots, lightly steamed asparagus, or chunks of a hearty bread.
Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your recipes, kitchen “must-haves” and food news at email@example.com.
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