“Bagna Cauda is more than just a recipe, it’s an event” wrote S. Irene Virbila in 1989 in an article in Wine Spectator dedicated to the famous Piedmontese dish and to Giacomo Bologna.
The Bologna family recipe for Bagna Cauda, serves 6
- 250 g of unsalted butter
- 1 litre of extra virgin olive oil, preferably from Liguria (Bagna Cauda made with the new il made from freshly pressed olives is incredible)
- 1/2 kilo of peeled garlic
- 250 g of the finest quality salted anchovies
Cook the sauce over a low heat until all the ingredients melt or dissolve.
Bagna Cauda is enjoyed by dipping mainly raw autumn vegetables into it. Some of the best are: boiled potatoes, cardoons, roast peppers cut into quarters, celery, turnips, carrots, radishes, sliced fennel, artichokes, roast peeled and sliced onions and beetroot, radicchio, escarole, cabbage leaves.
Another delicious addition would be 1 or 2 fresh eggs per person, at room temperature, and possibly a white truffle to be served finely sliced with the egg cooked in the remaining bagna cauda, for a “grand finale”.
Bagna Cauda and Barbera Braida: a great love story
This country tradition is renewed every year, in November.
We love to accompany it with La Monella, Barbera del Monferrato frizzante DOC.
Barbera is the wine traditionally paired with Bagna Cauda: its rich fruit beautifully complements the sauce. Da provare con Montebruna, Barbera d’Asti DOCG, Ai Suma Barbera d’Asti DOCG e Curej Barbera d’Asti DOCG.
Equipment required: an earthenware bowl known as a dian; a s-cionfetta or fujot: small earthenware warmer filled with embers; failing that, a fondue stand and alcohol burner; a wooden spoon; a heat diffuser if cooking with gas. Place the dian to soak in cold water for at least a couple of hours: this will prevent it from cracking while the sauce is cooking.
Soak the anchovies in plenty of fresh water; after 5/10 minutes, carefully remove the bones, dry the resulting fillets and place them in a container until needed. Some people prefer to wash the anchovies in red wine or white vinegar.
Now it’s time to concentrate on the garlic: there are prized varieties of garlic, from Caraglio to Vessalico: peel each clove and then cut it in half lengthwise and remove the inner shoot. This operation is absolutely essential!
Take the dian out of the water and dry it thoroughly.
Place it over a very moderate heat – if you are using a gas cooker, don’t forget the heat diffuser – and pour in half a glass of oil.
When the oil starts to heat up, add all the anchovies.
Stir them constantly with a wooden spoon until they dissolve completely, taking care not to let them fry.
Now add the garlic; stir thoroughly and crush the cloves with a wooden spoon until the sauce takes on a creamy consistency.
Add the remaining oil and butter and continue cooking over a very low heat for 20 to 30 minutes. The oil must never fry.
If you are lucky enough to have a s-cionfetta, or another earthenware warmer, and an open fireplace, build up a nice fire with vine or olive wood. Create a bed of ashes in the s-cionfetta, fill it two-thirds full with embers, and cover them with a blanket of ashes.
Place the warmer in the middle of the table, place the dian full of Bagna over it and this will keep it at the ideal temperature throughout the evening. If you don’t have this particular equipment, you can use a fondue stand with its alcohol burner but keep an eye on the flame so that the Bagna never fries or gets too cold. The same rule applies if you use individual terracotta “fujot” pots.
Il Bagna Cauda Day
Bagna Cauda Day is the world’s largest collective and contemporary bagna cauda. This year it will be celebrated in over 150 venues including restaurants, historic wine cellars and country inns, which will be catering for thirty thousand diners. This is the eleventh year that the initiative has been promoted by the Associazione Culturale Astigiani and it will be held over two weekends: 24, 25, 26 November and 1, 2, 3 December.
Asti is the world capital of Bagna Cauda Day, and Braida has supported and promoted the initiative since the first edition.
Give someone the gift of a tour and wine-tasting at Braida’s historic wine cellars, or treat yourself!
For your Gift Voucher, write to us at email@example.com or call us on +39 335 1559195