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Our cookbook of the week is Tortellini at Midnight by Tuscany-based food writer and photographer Emiko Davies. Over the next two days, we’ll feature another recipe from the book and an interview with its author.
To try another recipe from the book, check out: Polpette di Nonna Anna (Nonna Anna’s meatballs).
Do as the Piedmontese have been doing for centuries and use early fall vegetables to eagerly scoop up this warm, garlicky and umami-rich sauce. Customarily served with sticks of raw cardoons, or strips of raw or grilled bell peppers, Emiko Davies appreciates bagna cauda — “heady with anchovies and mountains of garlic” — for its versatility.
“I could eat it on, and I do eat it on absolutely everything,” she says of the sauce, which is thought to have been central to celebrating the region’s autumn wine harvest (the vendemmia) since the Middle Ages. “You can toss it through some pasta, it’s good in scrambled eggs. It’s nice as a sauce on meat as well, like a steak or even a crumbed steak. It’s beautiful.”
Warm Garlic and Anchovy Sauce with Crunchy Vegetables
12 plump garlic cloves
250 mL (1 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
100 g anchovies preserved in oil, drained
50 g (1/4 cup) cold butter
Mince 4–5 of the garlic cloves and finely slice the rest. Combine all the garlic with the olive oil and anchovies in a small saucepan over the lowest possible heat your stovetop has. Cook very gently for about 20 minutes, or until the garlic is soft and fragrant but hasn’t browned. Stir occasionally to make sure there is no danger of the garlic browning.
Just before removing from the heat, stir through the cold butter. Serve hot (ideally in a terracotta fujot, which keeps the sauce hot with a tea light candle underneath) with your favourite vegetables, raw or cooked, cut into sticks or wedges for easy dipping. If not using immediately, the sauce can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Serves: 4 as antipasto
Recipe excerpted from Tortellini at Midnight: And Other Heirloom Family Recipes from Taranto to Turin to Tuscany by Emiko Davies, published in 2019 by Hardie Grant Books, an imprint of Hardie Grant Publishing. Photography by Lauren Bamford. Reproduced by arrangement with the publisher.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019