Like all foodies, there’s a little spot in my kitchen where I keep recipes I want to try.  For me, that’s a wrought iron recipe book stand that I’ve had since whenever when.

Bagna Cauda has been sitting there for about 8 months.  Other recipes have been and gone, but this kept getting bumped to the bottom of the stack (maybe teddy shaped chicken rissoles and 5:00 o’clock dinner rush took precedence…).  Finally, thanks to Slice, I’ve gotten sorted to make it.

For this version of Bagna Cauda I worked from two recipes, one by Nigella Lawson and a version by Nancy Silverton published on The Amateur Gourmet.  My sneaky shortcut – a stick blender to speed up the process (and I’m sure I’m not the first).

Oh and I’m a bit loose with my measures, so you may need to play around with it a bit.

Sneaky Bagna Cauda

(makes about 1/2 cup or enough for a quick snack for two)

Ingredients

70 ml extra-virgin olive oil

2-3 fat garlic cloves

6-8 Anchovy fillets

30-40g unsalted butter

salt

a little zest and juice from a lemon

Fresh vegetables to serve

Peel the garlic and slice roughly.  Place in a small (stick-blender proof) cup with the anchovies and a little oil and quickly blitz.

Put the remaining oil in a small saucepan, add the anchovy / garlic mix, and about 1/4 of the butter.  Stir over a low heat and the mixture will start to come together.

Give it a little blitz now if you want.  Or stir in the remaining butter as it melts, take off the heat and then blitz.

Add a teeny bit of zest, a couple of drops of lemon juice, and a sprinkle of salt – to taste.  I spent a little time here adjusting the flavours; I love the addition of the lemon for piquancy and depth.

The mixture does separate as it settles – and I preferred to scoop off a teaspoon or so of the melted butter before we ate.

Serve warm, with roughly cut portions of fresh vegetables to dip – fennel is amazing, red capsicum, snow peas, celery, whatever you can get your hands so long as it’s cold and crisp.

The Nancy Silverton version suggests this on a baguette with lettuce and eggs. Nice.

It’s probably worth mentioning my past unsuccessful attempt, by micro planing the garlic instead of mincing it.  Perhaps my gas stove-top burners are too hot, but it burnt before blending. Contents tossed.

I think using finer quality, denser anchovies would also make a difference.  Read my post about Anchovies here.

And I’d definitely make a bigger batch – great suggestion from The Amateur Gourmet that you can keep in the fridge and warm the next day when ready, or serve any remaining cut cold on steak.

And when I do have the luxury of a little more time, I’ll try a more purist approach – salt packed anchovies, carefully filleted, mortar and pestle, hand whisk…

But I think this will do nicely until then.