I’m a salty girl, always, but I think my cravings are even more intense in the winter. Lately I’ve been plucking little balls of fresh mozzarella cheese from their whey bath, sprinkling them with salt, and popping them in my mouth like cherries. Good Lord they’re good that way – who needs tomatoes and basil?
Sort of my way of saying screw you to winter.
Another way (other than devouring a multi-course feast, below)? Have a party! Nothing tastes better with salt than wine and chat with a room full of girls, especially foodie girls who blog:
All made their way through the cold and into my kitchen where we ate, drank, gossiped, and laughed our butts off because Molly Snyder and Amanda Rettke are two of the funniest people on the planet.
Yes, I served them plenty of salt – salami, egg salad, ricotta cheese, roasted tomatoes, bacon-wrapped dates, crostini, almonds, olives, and…bagna cauda. Have you had it before? It means “hot bath” in Italian and is a salt-lover’s dream come true. Bagna cauda is really nothing more than anchovies, butter, garlic, and olive oil, warmed together and served with raw vegetables for dipping.
I set out radishes, peppers, carrots, and cauliflower, but it was the cauliflower I hit the hardest, after everyone left, when the bagna cauda had been sitting in a warm fondue pot long enough for the butter solids, garlic, and anchovies to have toasted into an insanely delicious sludge at the bottom of the pot. It turns out that cauliflower, with its lovely bumps, is a perfect sludge-delivery vehicle.
I might pay later for eating almost an entire head of raw cauliflower dipped in anchovy butter…
…but so far I’m feeling pretty good.
From Bon Appetit, December 1992, via Epicurious.com
From the website: Literally translated as “hot bath,” this dipping sauce for vegetables often appears in many Italian homes as part of the Christmas Eve buffet. Although cardoons (an edible thistle related to the artichoke but resembling celery) are traditional, celery makes a fine substitute and any combination of vegetables will do. In Italy, the routine goes like this: Vegetable pieces are dipped into the sauce (a fondue-style fork will help) and then eaten, with a slice of bread held underneath to catch the drippings. Once the bread is soaked with sauce, it’s eaten, too. Then everyone starts over. It’s fun for a party appetizer no matter where you live.
3/4 c. olive oil
6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 anchovy fillets
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
Assorted fresh, raw vegetables, cut into bite-size pieces
1 1-lb. loaf crusty Italian or French bread, cut into 2-inch pieces
Blend oil, butter, anchovies, and garlic in processor until smooth. Transfer oil mixture to heavy medium saucepan. Cook over low heat 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Sauce will separate.) Season with salt and pepper.
Pour sauce into fondue pot or other flameproof casserole to keep warm. Serve with vegetables and bread.
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