Craftours Lifestyles Magazine December 2018 - Page 30

Bagna Caulda “A garlic lover’s celebration!” With a last name like West, it is unlikely people would pass me off as being Italian or even part Italian. But truth be told, I am actually a quarter Irish, German, Polish and yes, Italian on my paternal grandmother’s side of the family. Her father and mother both came to the United States from Italy and settled in the small coal mining community I grew up in. The recipe I am going to share with you was brought with them from the Piedmonte Region in Italy and has been passed down from generation to generation in my family. I am including it in A Quilter’s Kitchen because I make this dish ever New Year’s Eve, carrying on our family tradition, and I think it is really terrific! Bagna Caulda is a dish you either love or hate. There is no middle ground with this one! Translated, Bagna Caulda means “hot bath.” The consistency of Bagna Caulda is like a thick cream soup or sauce. It is almost like a fondue, because we dip all kinds of vegetables into it. And you will note later as you read through this recipe, there is a proper way to eat this dish, as taught to me by my grandmother. PLEASE NOTE: If you don’t like your house smelling of garlic, you will not want to begin this recipe! But if you love garlic, let your senses run wild and we’ll start! Here are the ingredients you will need to make enough to serve 4 people: • 4 bulb of garlic (if you wish, you can add a little more) • 4 cups extra virgin olive oil (you can substitute 2 lbs of butter) • Two pints heavy cream • 8 tins anchovies • 1 head regular cabbage • 1 head Chinese cabbage • 1 head iceberg lettuce • 1 stalk celery • 1 loaf of really good Italian bread I have to stop for a second, because I have always made this dish to taste and have never actually written down the ingredients so I am laughing as I write this. I know most of you who cook family recipes can relate to what I am talking about! Anyway, this dish should be cooked in a large soup pot. I typically use something just a little smaller than a lobster pot because when I make this, I triple the ingredients and make a lot at one time, then divide it into separate containers, freeze it, and give it as gifts to relatives and friends that I know love it. So let’s start the prep work, first peel the entire bulb of garlic. To make the garlic easier to peel, smash each clove against the counter with your hand or the flat end of a knife, so it is easier to take off the outer coat. Once you’ve peeled all the garlic, slice it into paper-thin slices. I think slicing is better than chopping for this recipe because it exposes more of the garlic making it more flavorful. Place the garlic into a small bowl and set aside. Next, open your cans of anchovies. Because the oil in the anchovy can has a tendency to splash when you pull it open it, make sure the lid opening is facing away from you. Once the anchovy cans are open, set aside and begin preparing the dish. (cont. next page)