i heart bagna cauda

March 9th, 2009 · 40 Comments

the literal translation of bagna cauda means warm bath. but in my world bagna cauda is a truly delectable warm and sexy mixture of anchovy, garlic, butter and olive oil in which to dip vegetables, bread and really whatever else you deem appropriate. because dear readers, i am not here to judge you and you certainly don’t need to report back to me…. but just so you know, i personally settled upon baking more of the wine infused batali pizza dough, this batch completely unadorned and fortified with a cup of ‘white whole wheat’ flour, along with simply grilled tiger shrimp, raw celery stalks, chunks of red and yellow bell peppers, radicchio and endive. sadly, there were no cardoons in sight. had there been i would’ve been even happier than i already was – if that could have been possible.

i finally bought a can of "real" anchovies, unlike that unrealized inferior product that comes in little tins and jars. this is the industrial sized can from italy. the kind that real chefs use. because although i am a hack, i still want my food to be as good as i can make it. and since i’m only willing to go so far, i wind up relying heavily on the best ingredients i can get my hands on. you can pretty much fool all of the people all of the time with this method of cooking. take that, abe.

so let’s talk about this whole anchovy business, shall we?

this is a very large and empty can that once housed a school of sicilian anchovies weighing in at one kilo.

i forgot to take a shot of the full can, if only so i could show you the salt packed anchovies all neatly crisscrossed in rows. i only used about 8 of the little fish and the rest quickly went into a container and were covered with olive oil to keep them relatively oxygen free and ready for action at my beck and call – for the next 2 years – which is about how long it’ll take me to go through them. AND by the way you have to chop off the tails and remove their guts and backbone. i was not aware of this prior to my $28 purchase. but if i had it all to do over again, i’d snap up a can of this fishy goodness in a ny minute. they are barely comparable to what i’ve used in the past…. and if mario were god, and if god were in heaven – he’d be smiling down at me. as it stands now he has no real idea that i exist which – funny enough, is how i feel about god…

but i digress…

so i made the bread. and then i made the bagna cauda. after that i chopped up the peppers and grilled the shrimp. the spread got laid out on my table along with the lettuces and a damn fine bottle of barbera (2006 agostino pavia & figli barbera d’asti ‘blina’) that at $16 just thrilled me. and it was uncorked. and then we ate. and it perhaps wasn’t a gorgeous spread, inappropriate for even a novice photo shoot such as this – but it was incredibly good to eat. of this much i can assure you.

naturally, the calories were relatively high but i had eaten sparsely (again) that day, and once again reigning it way back the next. but it felt like clean food. i felt really good after i ate. and after weighing myself yesterday i’m down about 11 lbs in 6 weeks… so in 4 months i should be me again. and i will have done it without torturing myself. torture is bad. when it comes to myself i have a total no torture policy, though i make no guarantees what i am capable of doing to you.

and back by popular demand: grace, the amazing growing puppy – at 14 weeks.

(she’s all mine and you can’t have her…)

Tags: bread · fish · seafood · vegetables

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