Monday, January 12, 2009

FinallyThe Bagna Calda Entry

I finally feel well enough (OK so almost well enough) to actually write about bagna calda. this is a gourmet and foodie treat that my Piedmontese relatives make during the winter months. It's an interesting melange of anchovy with beef or veggies.

Bagna calda means hot bath in Italian (it's bagna caoda in Piedmontese) and it's definitely that. Savory anchovies fillets are melted into a mix of butter and oil in a fondue pot. Minced garlic is then added for more flavor. Traditionally Savoy cabbage was put in to it to cook up and soak up the "bath" however a Paterson NJ version also was created. Paterson was the East Coast's home for silk and it lured the silk weavers from Piedmonte's towns such as Biella . The workers brought their own spins to traditional recipes such as bagna and pascoi (stuffed Savoy cabbage). One was adding raw London broil to the dip. It cooks up beautifully adding a rich red meat juice. This blends perfectly with the anchovies' saltiness. (if you;re wondering how anchovies got to the landlocked region, it's because of the Genovese fish merchants, directly south of Piedmont, who used the alpine hills and valleys as drying spots for their catches. This was done during the winter months).

Of course bagna wouldn't be complete without a long crusty loaf of Italian or French bread. use it to sop up the dip from your plate or take a hunk and let it cook up in the pot. This is a treat until itself especially when you're able to get your hands on the heel .

Bagna calda is a fun and tasty winter dish. It's the best thing a bout the New Year!

My family's recipe

1 tin anchovy fillets.
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil

2 cloves garlic minced,

Sliced raw London broil or steak, cut up Savoy cabbage and mushrooms.

In a fondue pot add olive oil anchovies and garlic Stir until melted. Toss in meats and veggies. and cook until done.

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