Sometimes less is more and in cooking terms it’s spot on. Simple ingredients can make any dish shine. Bagna càuda is an Italian sauce made with butter, olive oil, garlic and anchovies. The Italians eat it with fennel, peppers, carrots, cauliflower. Fresh bread dipped in this sauce is simply scrumptious! Or, give your taste buds a real treat by grilling radicchio wedges and slather with bagna càuda. I’ve grilled radicchio before as well as romaine but never served it with bagna càuda. The oil and butter help to round out the garlic while softening the salty flavour of anchovies. It’s a sauce that is super easy to make, has minimal ingredients and loaded with flavour.
Some cooks prefer more butter than olive oil and some will say only salt-cured anchovies. The thing is, it’s a sauce you can alter the ingredients to suit your palate and therefore cannot mess it up. If you have any leftover sauce, toss it with vegetables or drizzled over a meat sandwich.
1 radicchio (about the size of a grapefruit)
sea salt and black pepper
Bagna Càuda sauce:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter
8 to 10 anchovy fillets packed in olive oil, chopped or smashed
4 to 6 cloves of garlic, minced or made into a paste
To make the sauce, in a small frying pan over medium heat add olive oil and butter. Allow butter to melt then add anchovies and garlic. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until anchovies have dissolved. Be mindful of the heat as you don’t want to burn the butter.
Preheat barbeque. Cut radicchio into quarters and drizzle with olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat until slightly wilted. Remove and divide between plates. Spoon over bagna càuda sauce and serve.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: For added mouthfeel, top radicchio with a few shavings of Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!