I hope we’re all old enough that no one has to tell us to eat our broccoli anymore. I also hope we’re all old enough to make sure that any broccoli we’re eating is absolutely delicious. C’mon guys… we can certainly do better than steaming it and throwing it on a plate. Treat those delicious little trees with the respect they deserve — douse them in a salty, spicy, garlicky, buttery bath.
Bagna cauda is a warm Italian dip that is served with raw or steamed veggies. I had it once at a restaurant in D.C. and fell in love with it. I believe my exact words were “oh my goodness— I just want to bathe in this” Since that would require way to much time, energy and money I decided that from then on I was just going to bathe my veggies in it instead. I really love this with broccoli but you can honestly use just about any vegetable you’d like.
Now— a lot of people are scared of anchovies. For good reason— they’re basically just tiny little, salty, oily fish packed into tins or jars. There is nothing intuitive about how to use them— until they get hot. Because then they essentially melt into puddles of pure umami savoriness. Its really hard to describe what anchovies taste like once they’ve melted into some oil. They’re not fishy… they’re just savory, salty and kind of what I imagine happiness tastes like. The flavor punch you get from anchovies is one of the easiest and most surprising ways to prop up an otherwise simple or boring dish. Try using them for this bagna cauda and all of the sudden you’ll be eager to see what else you can do with them.
And BTW, if you’ve never bought anchovies before, they’ll be in the same aisle of the grocery store where you would look for canned tuna or canned sardines. This recipe calls for the type that are packed in oil.
- 3 pounds of broccoli
- 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- ¼ cup of olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
- 2 oz of anchovy fillets, packed in oil
- 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
- 8 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped or crushed
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
- Cut the large stalks off of the broccoli and separate the heads into 1 inch pieces. Toss the broccoli pieces with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, spread them in a single layer over a large roasting pan, and place in the oven for 15 minutes.
- While the broccoli is roasting, prepare the bagna cauda sauce. In a frying pan or skillet, melt the remaining olive oil with the butter over medium-low heat. When the butter is completely melted, add the garlic, anchovies and red pepper flakes.
- Cook the mixture for about 7 minutes on medium-low heat, making sure to stir occasionally to break up the anchovies and let them melt into the sauce. The garlic should be softened but not browned.
- When you remove the broccoli from the oven, either toss it in the mixture and serve or drizzle the mixture over the broccoli.