Thursday, January 29, 2009
Anchovies. It’s a food that can bring thoughts of revulsion to many, along with memories of bad pizza experiences and those smelly, brown, tinned things that bear no resemblance to actual fish. And yes – anchovies are actual fish. A fact that is, surprisingly, news to some. But served fresh or preserved properly, they are somewhat sweet and quite good in many applications.
I picked up a pack of white anchovies from Spain for my pressed baguette sandwich. They were not cheap and therefore I wanted to be sure to find a good use for the remaining filets.
Enter Bagna Cauda. It’s an Italian dip that is traditionally served with fresh vegetables. I added a loaf of homemade bread and sautéed shrimp to my Bagna Cauda platter and a light lunch was served. Interestingly, I found that the veggies were not a very good pairing for the dip. However, the homemade bread and shrimp were fantastic. Aside from anchovies, the dip is made up of butter, olive oil and garlic – always a delicious sauce for bread and shrimp.
I saved my leftover Bagna Cauda to toss with pasta. All it needed was a light sprinkling of parmesan and I had a great dish. Two dishes for the price (and effort) of one. Love that!
Makes about 1 cup
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
4 – 6 cloves garlic
12 white anchovy filets
1 oz butter (1/4 of a stick)
Heat the olive oil in a small pan over medium heat and add the anchovy filets. Stir occasionally until the anchovies begin to dissolve in the oil. While you’re waiting for the filets to dissolve, use a microplane to grate the garlic cloves into the sauce. Let everything simmer together for 8 – 10 minutes and then finish by stirring in the butter. This sauce needs to stay hot so serve it in a butter warmer or other dish that has a heat source. Serve with what you like, but I recommend the shrimp and fresh bread.