New Year’s Eve can be a time of reflecting on your past, but how you count down to your future can be the topic of conversation for weeks on end. Maybe you’ll watch the ball drop at New York’s Time’s Square, dance the night away, drink champagne, share a romantic dinner, get together with friends or… wind up kissing a complete stranger! (If I’ve conjured up a memory you’ve blocked out, I apologize.)
That last one can sometimes alter your new year, but if you’re infused with bagna cauda (one of my favorite New Year’s Eve dishes) you can at least be sure of two things: the person kissing you is brave enough to brave your intense garlic breath and he/she is, quite possibly, a real garlic lover – who else would seek out such fragrant intimacy. If you’d like to test my theory and you’re in a target-rich environment, give this traditional Italian dish from the Piedmont region of Italy a try. The name comes from bagno caldo which translates into “hot bath”, and when the flavor washes over you, it will put the Happy in your New Year.
The beauty of this dish is that guests can serve themselves as they gather around the bagna cauda pot (think campfire) and warm themselves with deliciously garlicky morsels, good wine and great conversation. And best of all, if everyone eats garlic, it smells good on you – so pucker up and start the countdown!
This recipe is from Christopher Ranch co-owner Don Christopher who likes to serve it at a gathering of good friends.
2 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 cube butter
1 2 oz. can anchovies – chopped fine
1 to 2 cups chopped Christopher Ranch California Garlic
Lots of French bread
Place oil, garlic and butter in a pot and simmer slowly on very low heat for 15 minutes. Stir often and do not allow to burn. Add anchovies and cook, stirring, until dissolved.
To serve: place pot on hot plate or carefully pour Bagna Cauda into fondue pot to keep warm. Spear raw, sliced, bite-size vegetables*, peeled and sliced apple and thinly sliced roast beef with fondue forks or wooden skewers, dip into hot oil until heated and catch any drips with sliced French bread – which you can also dip. Stir occasionally while dipping. Serve with your favorite red wine.
*Endive, cabbage, mushrooms, zucchini, artichoke hearts, bell peppers, celery, cauliflower, carrots, green garlic shoots.
HAVE A HAPPY, HEALTHY AND GARLICIOUS NEW YEAR!