Bacon Bagna Càuda

While anchovies are ubiquitous in Japanese cuisine, the western canned variety tends to be fishy and very salty, putting them in the unappetizing category for many people. As a kid, I’d dread going over to one particular friend’s house because their family was quite fond of the “everything” pizza topped with those grayish brown slivers of unpleasantness.

But the truth is, anchovies in any form contain a treasure trove of umami boosting glutamates that enhances almost any dish it’s added to. I’ve come to love these little sticks of stink, but if the fishiness bothers you, try covering it up with something. In the case of bagna càuda that “something” is lots of garlic.

Bagna càuda is a Piedmontese dip which literally means “hot sauce”. Not hot as in spicy, but hot as in warm, earning its name from the long tradition of serving it in a heated pot at the table. An assortment of raw, boiled or roasted veggies are then dipped into the pot and eaten. I also like to serve it with some crusty bread to sop up some of the flavourful olive oil.

To punch of the flavor a bit, and because I’m a non-traditionalist, I add minced bacon to mine. The smokey bacon really compliments the anchovies and the lard takes some of the green edge off the olive oil. If you somehow end up with leftovers, just toss it with hot pasta and freshly chopped parsley the next day.

1 bunch white asparagus
handful of green beans
3 strips of bacon minced
6 cloves garlic minced
2 oz. can of anchovies drained
1/2 C olive oil
2 Tbs butter (optional)
2 Tbs flat leaf parsley minced

Break the tough bottoms off the asparagus then peel the bottom 2/3s of the stalk. Cut the tips off the green beans. Then boil or steam them.

Put the minced bacon in a small sauce pan over medium low heat and fry until some of the fat renders out, but not long enough for it to turn brown. Turn down the heat to low and add the garlic, anchovies and olive oil. Cook until the anchovies have dissolved into the oil and the garlic starts to brown (about 10 minutes).

If you want to make it more creamy, whisk in about 2 Tbs of butter at the end. Add the parsley then drizzle over the asparagus and green beans or put it in a small fondue pot for dipping.

  • http://www.tartelette.blogpot.com/ Tartelette

    Sounds wonderful and tasty!

  • http://www.tartelette.blogpot.com Tartelette

    Sounds wonderful and tasty!

  • http://chefholly.typepad.com/holly_hadsell_el_hajji/ Holly

    I think it is one of my favorite things!

  • http://chefholly.typepad.com/holly_hadsell_el_hajji/ Holly

    I think it is one of my favorite things!

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com/ Elra

    Very interesting bagna cauda, I never made it with bacon, I am sure taste delicious. Bagna cauda is my most favorite sauce, it’s funny I only eat it with raw fennel bulb…sometime I use this sauce for vegetable crudite when we have a large gathering at home, and it always a hit!
    Cheers,
    Elra

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com Elra

    Very interesting bagna cauda, I never made it with bacon, I am sure taste delicious. Bagna cauda is my most favorite sauce, it’s funny I only eat it with raw fennel bulb…sometime I use this sauce for vegetable crudite when we have a large gathering at home, and it always a hit!
    Cheers,
    Elra

  • http://www.practicallydone.com/ helen

    Mmmmm, baconnnnn…

    I made some fried rice with anchovies just last night, and it was awesome, if I may say so myself.

  • http://www.practicallydone.com helen

    Mmmmm, baconnnnn…

    I made some fried rice with anchovies just last night, and it was awesome, if I may say so myself.

  • http://lisaiscooking.blogspot.com/ lisaiscooking

    Looks beautiful on the white asparagus.

  • http://lisaiscooking.blogspot.com/ lisaiscooking

    Looks beautiful on the white asparagus.

  • http://duodishes.wordpress.com/ The Duo Dishes

    Beautiful shot! We love bacon too. It always pairs well with asparagus.

  • http://duodishes.wordpress.com The Duo Dishes

    Beautiful shot! We love bacon too. It always pairs well with asparagus.

  • http://foodhappens.blogspot.com/ lo

    Gotta tell you. It was bagna cauda that turned Peef’s eye toward the anchovy. Gotta love a bit of bacon in there too.

    Lovely photos! So glad I stumbled over from twitter!

  • http://foodhappens.blogspot.com lo

    Gotta tell you. It was bagna cauda that turned Peef’s eye toward the anchovy. Gotta love a bit of bacon in there too.

    Lovely photos! So glad I stumbled over from twitter!

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  • http://www.talidabakes.com/ talida

    Great meeting you the other day! That does sound delicious, and lovely pictures, Marc.

  • http://www.talidabakes.com talida

    Great meeting you the other day! That does sound delicious, and lovely pictures, Marc.

  • http://www.nilarosa.com/ Nila Rosa

    Yum. Gorgeous shot.

  • http://www.nilarosa.com Nila Rosa

    Yum. Gorgeous shot.

  • http://whiskblog.com/ Shari

    I may need to take another look at anchovies. Your dish sounds interestingly delicious — perhaps even addictive??

  • http://whiskblog.com Shari

    I may need to take another look at anchovies. Your dish sounds interestingly delicious — perhaps even addictive??

  • http://www.figandcherry.com/ Christie @ fig&cherry

    Yes, yes, yes! That’s it :)

  • http://www.figandcherry.com/ Christie @ fig&cherry

    Yes, yes, yes! That’s it :)

  • http://culinarytypes.blogspot.com/ T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types

    I love anchovies – and love your description, “little sticks of stink!” I especially like to use them as the secret flavor boost in olive tapanade. Great to meet you the other day in Soho!

  • http://culinarytypes.blogspot.com T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types

    I love anchovies – and love your description, “little sticks of stink!” I especially like to use them as the secret flavor boost in olive tapanade. Great to meet you the other day in Soho!

  • http://www.sophiesfoodiefiles.blogspot.com/ Sophie

    I think this combination souds so fab!! MMMMM…

  • http://www.sophiesfoodiefiles.blogspot.com Sophie

    I think this combination souds so fab!! MMMMM…

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    Sticks of stink! Ha! Sounds quick, easy and tasty. Thanks, Marc:)

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com Jenni

    Sticks of stink! Ha! Sounds quick, easy and tasty. Thanks, Marc:)

  • http://foodalogue.com/ Joan Nova

    That’s a beautiful and creative first course. I love it! Also love your idea of what to do with leftovers…the oil, the saltiness, the crunch, the veggies are perfect to blend with pasta. Plus my motto is anything worth eating once is worth twice, particularly when married with pasta!

  • http://foodalogue.com Joan Nova

    That’s a beautiful and creative first course. I love it! Also love your idea of what to do with leftovers…the oil, the saltiness, the crunch, the veggies are perfect to blend with pasta. Plus my motto is anything worth eating once is worth twice, particularly when married with pasta!

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    I too had issues with those greyish brown anchovies growing up. But these look spectacular Marc…and you cant go wrong with garlic!

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    I too had issues with those greyish brown anchovies growing up. But these look spectacular Marc…and you cant go wrong with garlic!

  • http://www.sevenspoons.net/ tara

    I do believe my husband would swoon if I used this as perfume; yes, I know, he’s weird. But salty, garlicy, bacony bagna cauda? What man could resist?

  • http://www.sevenspoons.net tara

    I do believe my husband would swoon if I used this as perfume; yes, I know, he’s weird. But salty, garlicy, bacony bagna cauda? What man could resist?

  • http://www.sugarbar.org/ diva

    i find anchovies always knock me off my socks completely but i’d totally eat this in 3 seconds flat. looks amazing! x

  • http://www.sugarbar.org diva

    i find anchovies always knock me off my socks completely but i’d totally eat this in 3 seconds flat. looks amazing! x

  • http://www.tan-kitchen.com/ Tan

    Such a lovely recipe and pic posted.;)

  • http://www.tan-kitchen.com Tan

    Such a lovely recipe and pic posted.;)

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com/ Syrie

    A lovely combination of textures and flavours.

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com Syrie

    A lovely combination of textures and flavours.

  • http://www.cookeatfret.com/ claudia (cook eat FRET)

    i just NOW saw this post…
    funny

    bacon. a grand idea.

  • http://www.cookeatfret.com claudia (cook eat FRET)

    i just NOW saw this post…
    funny

    bacon. a grand idea.

Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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