I always pick up French breakfast radishes whenever I see them. They are impossible to find, except at the markets. Normally I slide them across some good butter and dip them in a bit of sea salt but after spotting some smoked garlic at the markets, I had to give into the bagna cauda.
The smoking really mellows the bitter pungency of the garlic. It would be great to be able to smoke it yourself. A quick google search will tell you it’s not difficult to smoke anything but a bit of equipment preparation is necessary. So until then, the markets will have to suffice.
Smoked Garlic Bagna Cauda
4-5 smoked garlic cloves
full fat milk (about 300mls)
4 anchovies, in olive oil or salt, washed and patted dry
a large nob of good butter (about 25g)
olive oil (20mls)
half a lemon
Cut cloves in half and place in small saucepan, just cover with milk and put on a very low heat for 10 minutes. Drain the garlic and repeat, this time leaving the garlic until the cloves can be easily squashed with a fork. This could take about 20 minutes and you may need to add more milk to keep the garlic mostly covered. Blitz with a hand stick blender.
Add the anchovies and whisk in, then add butter, whisk, slowly add the olive oil while whisking. Everything should be nicely emulsified. This is a thin mixture so don’t be concerned. Add a small squeeze of lemon juice. Taste and adjust accordingly.
This Northern Italian dip is best kept warm whilst eating. So if you have a small fondue set or a tealight candle holder you can place underneath that’s great. Otherwise eat quickly.
Serves 2 for a shared entree.