Craftours Lifestyles Magazine December 2018 - Page 31

Take the extra virgin olive oil and pour it into the pot. Use medium heat on your stove when you first begin. Stir your garlic into the oil and let simmer for five-ten minutes. Add your anchovies, including the anchovy oil. Let this simmer for another five-ten minutes, stirring constantly so the garlic does not burn. Once this has cooked, turn your burner off, cover your pot and let this sit for fifteen minutes stirring occasionally. You eventually want your garlic to have a soft consistency and your anchovies to break down so they are cooked through. This is what we call the Bagna Caulda “base” and what makes this dish so flavorful. The more garlic and anchovies you use, the more flavorful this dish becomes. So add or subtract according to your taste and what you like. By now, your kitchen should start taking on a smell of its own. Family members will begin coming in from the living room, bedroom and even from outside to see what the heck you are cooking. If this happens, just smile and know you are becoming more like an Italian chef than you ever were before! After the base has set for fifteen minutes, put the pot back on the burner set high, and begin pouring your heavy cream into the base, stirring constantly. Bring the entire dish to a gentle boil, again stirring constantly. Once the mixture begins to boil, turn your burner to low and let it simmer for about ten more minutes, stirring occasionally. Once this is complete, turn the burner off and cover with a lid, letting it set for about 15 more minutes without any heat. Your Bagna Caulda is finished. Now its time to prepare your vegetables. Clean and dry all your vegetables thoroughly and begin cutting your cabbage and iceberg lettuce into two inch pieces. Place these on serving dishes. Next, separate pieces of your Chinese cabbage and celery, and place on a serving dish. Next, slice your Italian bread at an angle, cutting it into one inch thick pieces and placing them in a bread basket. I like to have one small bread basket between every two people sitting at the table, as this makes it easier and more convenient for your guests. I said earlier, there is a proper way to eat this dish. Once your Bagna Caulda is ready, you will need to place a heating unit in the center of your dining table and place your pot on the burner, set on low. Each person has a small bowl in front of them, which is placed on a dinner plate. The proper way to serve this dish is to fill everyone’s bowl ¾ full, and let everyone take whatever vegetable they want to dip into this dish. The proper way to eat this is by using a fork to dip your vegetable into the Bagna Caulda, and catching the drippings with your bread in your other hand. Once your slice of bread begins soaking in the Bagna Caulda, your guests should take a bite of the bread. Variations include dipping bread, mushrooms, peppers, cucumbers and other vegetables into the Bagna Caulda. Enjoy! This dish is a wonderful treat for the garlic lover in all of you!