Bagna Cauda is a traditional Italian condiment of anchovy and garlic cooked with butter and olive oil. It is used to spread on toasty bread or for dipping raw veggies. In this recipe, I use it instead to to cover an entire head of cauliflower and then roast it in the oven. Finished with Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh parsley, this umami bomb is the perfect family-style side dish with tons of flavor.
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook time: 1 hour
Serves: 6-8, as a side dish
One whole cauliflower head
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 whole large garlic cloves
12 anchovy filets
1 tsp crushed red chili flakes
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, plus 2 tablespoons, chopped
1/8 cup dijon mustard
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
Zest of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Clean the bottom leaves and any green stalky parts of the cauliflower. Set aside.
In a small pot combine olive oil, garlic cloves, anchovy filets, chili flakes and the half bunch of parsley (stems and all). Bring the mixture to a quick boil and turn down to a light simmer. Making sure nothing sticks to the bottom, cook the mixture until the garlic is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and strain immediately, reserving the oil.
In a blender, place the anchovy-garlic mixture, turn on to medium speed and slowly blend in the olive oil until a smooth paste is achieved. You will probably only need 3/4 of the olive oil. Add in the mustard and quickly pulse to combine.
Place the cauliflower onto a sheet of aluminum foil on a cookie sheet. Make sure the foil is large enough to be able to close over the entire head.
Spoon the Bagna Cauda onto the cauliflower, making sure the entire head is covered with the mixture. Close the aluminum foil from the bottom up and roast the cauliflower for 45 minutes. Then open up the aluminum foil and finish the cauliflower, uncovered, allowing the surface to get some color. If you can easily pierce through the head of cauliflower with a sharp knife, then you’ll know it’s finished.
Take the cauliflower out of the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Combine the Parmigiano Reggiano, chopped parsley and lemon zest in a small bowl. Place the cauliflower on a serving plate and top it with the parsley mixture. Slice and serve.
Spencer Hochman is a Private Chef in Sonoma County, CA who recently moved to wine country after growing up and spending the formative years of his culinary career in various well-known kitchens in NYC. He developed his market drive Italian style during his four years at L’Artusi in the West Village. With a desire to be closer to what he feels is the gastronomic heartbeat of America, Spencer’s west coast move has allowed him to be an arm’s length from some of the best farmers, fishmongers, vintners, and artisan food purveyors in the world!