Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Breakfast Radishes with Bagna Cauda
I found a gorgeous bunch of French breakfast radishes at the farmer's market. Breakfast radishes are globe shaped, not quite as spicy as the round red radishes, and have an elegant white tip. And they are crunchy. NY Magazine had a recipe for the so-called Coco Chanel of radishes with bagna cauda, a hot oil bath with garlic and anchovies. Simple, but elegant.
Curious about a vegetarian version of bagna cauda, a quick Google search convinced me that a mixture of kalamata olives and capers could be used to create a similar salty, briny flavor as anchovies. You gently heat oil with garlic, red chili flakes, kalamata olives, and capers and warm it slowly until the garlic falls apart and the oil is scented. I recommend starting with a tablespoon of each and then adjusting the amount to taste. If using anchovies instead of olives and capers, cook over low heat until anchovies are dissolved. When used as a dipping oil, bagna cauda is sometimes served in a fondue pot over a candle alongside crusty bread, cauliflower, green beans, carrots, and peppers. It is a great way to get guests together and mingle!
For this dish I drenched the breakfast radishes with bagna cauda and serving it as an hors d’oeuvre. You can spoon the radishes with oil on to a slice of crusty bread. Use remaining bread to soak up the remaining olive oil mixture. There won't be a drop left!
Breakfast Radishes with (Vegetarian) Bagna Cauda
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
3-4 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp minced kalamata olives
1 tbsp capers, crushed with the back of a spoon
1 bunch breakfast radishes
In a medium sauté pan over low heat, add olive oil, crushed red pepper, crushed garlic, kalamata olives, and capers. Slowly cook for 8-10 minutes. The garlic should fall apart but do not let it brown.
Remove stems from radishes and halve lengthwise. Transfer to serving bowl. Pour the bagna cauda over the top and gently toss. Serve immediately with crusty bread.