Last night, I was invited at the last minute to have dinner at a Japanese restaurant in Pasadena, CA – thanks Dad! As a starter, we had the Bagna couda (farmers market organic vegetable). 健康さんへ、旬の有機野菜をアンチョビとオリーブオイルで
This is where two cultures successfully collide.
Bagna couda, is a warm dip typical of Piedmont, Italy, made from garlic, anchovies, butter, and olive oil served with raw vegetables. I love the idea of serving an Italian dish with a Japanese presentation. This recipe has been modified from Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking.
Miso Bagna Couda
3 large heads garlic
1 cup whole milk
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp anchovy paste
½ tsp red miso
salt and pepper
Crush and peel the cloves in 3 large heads of garlic.
Cover with water, and bring to a boil.
Discard the boiling water, and retain the garlic. Repeat twice. These steps extract some of the stronger, bitter flavors of the garlic, and mellows it a bit. It also extracts a tiny bit of the color, resulting in pure white gloves of garlic.
Now pour in the milk. Bring the milk to a boil, and boil for ten minutes, or until the garlic is tender. Discard all but 1 Tbs of the milk. Again, this extracts some of the fat soluble bitter compounds. This is going to be some very mellow garlic.
Purée the garlic in a food processor until smooth. Add the anchovy paste, the miso, the reserved milk, salt and pepper to taste and 2 Tbs of olive oil. Purée until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to serve, place some of the paste in a small serving dish. Heat in the microwave (or over a candle, if you have such an apparatus). Heat the remaining olive oil on the stove until hot and cover the hot paste with hot olive oil. Serve immediately with fresh chopped vegetables.