Miso Bagna Couda

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.

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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
veggies

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.

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