Recipe: Bagna cauda and aioli sauce

Recipe: Bagna cauda and aioli sauce

Recipe: Bagna cauda and aioli sauce Author: Style At Home


Recipe: Bagna cauda and aioli sauce

The best image we have of bagna càuda is in the Cooking of Italy Time-Life Book: A few stocky men and their elegant wives, towels around their necks, are sitting solemnly around a table in a brick vault. You would think they are about to eat ortolans or monkey brains, but no, they are enjoying long sticks of celery dipped in a warm butter-oil-anchovy bath. It’s a strange image, and we were inexplicably inspired by it. Bagna càuda is peasant yet elegant— the essence of Italian food. We love the flavour and the process of trimming the vegetables, and we (bittersweetly) think most people like bagna càuda because it tastes like Caesar salad. We serve our bagna càuda with a dip or aioli and have provided both options below.
Bagna cauda and aioli sauce


Vegetable suggestions
  • Small crisp cucumbers, quartered crosswise and halved
  • Small carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
  • Celery hearts, split lengthwise
  • Small ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • Radishes with leaves attached, halved if you like
  • Little Tokyo White turnips, thinly sliced
  • Small zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • Young kohlrabi, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Small beets, peeled and sliced
  • Small new potatoes, cooked and chilled
  • Young sweet peppers, seeded and slivered
  • Cauliflower florets, blanched for 10 seconds in boiling salted water and refreshed in ice water

Aioli ingredients

  • 1 cup (250 ml) grape seed oil
  • 1 cup (250 ml) olive oil
  • 1 potato, boiled until tender, peeled, and diced
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 3 to 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice of ½ lemon

Dip ingredients
  • 1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream (35 percent butterfat)
  • Two 2-ounce (55-g) cans anchovy fillets in olive oil
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (250 ml) olive oil
  • 1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 or 2 ice cubes, if needed
  • Salt and pepper

Garnish ingredients

  • 2 soft-boiled eggs (boiled for 5 minutes)
  • 3 or 4 bread sticks
  • Poached salt cod, chilled
  • Poached lobster meat and shrimp, chilled

First, figure out how many vegetables you need to serve your guests. Then, for the vegetables, sit down in a garden chair with a bottle of rosé or pastis, a cutting board on your knees, and a good paring knife. Throw the peels straight into the garden.

2 To make the aioli, combine the oils in a measuring pitcher. In a food processor, combine the potato, egg yolks, egg, and as much of the garlic as you like and process until smooth. (Potato is added to the traditional aioli for texture; you can also use bread that has been soaked in milk.) With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the combined oils. The mixture should emulsify with no problem. Keep a glass of warm water handy, however, in case the mixture splits. If it does, immediately add a spoonful or two of the water, pulsing as you add. When all of the oil has been added, season with salt and pepper. To finish, add the lemon juice. Refrigerate until serving.

3 To make the dip, in a small saucepan, combine the cream and anchovies and simmer over medium-low heat until the cream is reduced by one-third. Bring the heat down to low, and, using a hand blender, blend in the garlic and oil. Using a hand whisk, delicately whisk in the butter a few cubes at a time. The mixture may break and split. If it does, add an ice cube and whisk again. Season generously with salt and pepper and serve warm. If the weather is chilly, keep the dip warm on a fondue warmer on the very lowest setting.

4 Serve the vegetables along with the garnishes of your choice in a nice bowl or arranged on a platter along with the dip and aioli.

Serves 4 to 6.

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Excerpted from The Art of Living According to Joe Beef by David McMillan, Frédéric Morin, and Meredith Erickson; Foreword by David Chang Copyright © 2011 by David McMillan, Frédéric Morin, and Meredith Erickson; Foreword by David Chang. Excerpted by permission of Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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Recipe: Bagna cauda and aioli sauce