I think garlic is exciting. When using it minced as an aromatic in a saute, I add it at the point the onions are becoming translucent and only allow it to cook until fragrant, or about 30 seconds, before I add the next ingredient. Whenever I hear that sizzle as the small minced morsels hit the pan, I swear my heart starts beating a little faster. Garlic just elicits good feelings..
Imagine my excitement when I read a recipe in a recent issue of Bon Appetit for bagna cauda, a garlicky dip for crudites or steamed vegetables like artichokes that called for three heads — not cloves, heads — of garlic.
In Food Lovers’ Companion, Sharon Tyler Herbst defines bagna cauda as a combination of “…olive oil, butter, garlic and anchovies served warm as an appetizer with raw vegetables for dipping.” She also notes that the dip hails from Piedmont, Italy. The term comes from bagno caldo, Italian for “hot bath.”
Here’s the recipe, along with some pics. I enjoyed this with lightly sauteed asparagus instead of artichokes the first night, then used it as a dressing on a spinach salad with toasted sunflower seeds, tomatoes and some parmesan cheese the second. I also added diced red onions. The onions combined with the garlicky dip gave me some sort of garlic-onion hangover the next day. I felt headachey and awful! If only my toothbrush could talk…
3 heads of garlic, cloves separated, papery skin removed (but cloves left unpeeled
3 tablespoons butter
1 2-ounce tin anchovy fillets, drained, anchovies chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
crudites, steamed veggies, crostini for dipping (I used sauteed asparagus)
Place unpeeled garlic cloves in small saucepan. Add enough water to cover garlic cloves by 1 inch. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until garlic is tender, about 25 minutes.
Drain; transfer to plate. Chill garlic cloves until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Squeeze garlic cloves from peel and place cloves in small bowl. Using fork, mash garlic cloves until smooth.
Melt butter in heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Add anchovies and sauté 1 minute. Add mashed garlic and oil. Simmer over low heat 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm before serving, stirring occasionally (bagna cauda will separate when served).