As I said in my last post (Damn, it's been a bit. Thanks summer semester!), we had Bagna Cauda night nearly two weeks ago at our house. In our family, this is kind of a big deal. Like a family cookout, but very Italian. Lots of wine and cooking. It was the night before my grandparents left, which that in itself was bittersweet. I still miss them. But back to Bagna. Better get comfy, I'm going on a long haul, complete with terrible wit and lots of parentheses!
So, you may be wondering, what is Bagna Cauda?
I know, it probably looks gross and not so appetizing. Pictures sometimes don't do justice, y'know. Basically, Bagna Cauda (or "hot bath") is an Italian fondue type dish, usually meant to be done with a lot (and I mean A LOT) of people. So it's most often a family affair. Ya dig?
Here's how you do it!
First, invite over all of your family or friends within a decent radius. Have them all each bring a bottle of red wine (or their favorite spirit, doesn't matter!). Then, get cooking.
The actual Bagna is made from olive oil, heavy cream, a SHIT TON of garlic (because we hates Twilight and are Italian, so never mind...), and anchovies (Ick, I know...just bear with me!). All of these are crushed and mashed in a pan for several hours until is becomes a very hot liquid. And when I say several hours, I mean it. That's why everyone is to get involved with the process! Once the Bagna is ready, the concoction is put into an electric frying pan on simmer to keep it bubbling and hot throughout the meal. During the mashing and whatnot, collect things to fry in the mix such as meat (Raw! Don't cook it, the Bagna does that for you!), cauliflower, bell peppers, mushrooms, and cabbage, all of which should be chopped or torn into bite-sized pieces before the meal. Also, cut up one inch slices of baguette bread. These will be eaten with the meat and veggies after they have been in the fondue. (Or as we do, during the cooking! We go through some bread!) And be sure to keep refilling your drink as you go! Keep some water handy, it gets hot in the kitchen during this!
Set your table or eating area up with the Bagna in the middle of it all. Toss in some of the raw meat and veggies to the pan. Let those cook for a bit, then place them on your slice of bread and enjoy! Lots of laughs, love, wine, and food with people you hold dear!
WARNING: You will smell like garlic for days! Your clothes, hair, sweat, farts...all garlic. Go help out some poor Twitard with their issues during this period! (Or just take a long bath and wash your clothes...that's cool too.)
Phew...So there you go. That's Bagna Cauda. Sound cool? Give it a shot and send me your pictures! I'd love to see them! theburntnickel (at) yahoo (dot) com
If you would like a better detailed recipe, including cook time, shoot me an email!
Here's a couple pictures from our Yuletide Bagna Cauda back in 2010:
Yours truly in the mashing process! My hair was such a hot mess back then...
The table set up!
(All pictures this time are taken by my Dad)