Spring Vegetable Bagna Cauda; Parmigiano Reggiano with Saba
I wanted to kick off this spring with a fresh menu. I thought a Spring Vegetable Bagna Cauda would be a perfect way to do this. Bagna cauda is traditionally a winter dish from the Piedmont region of Italy serving a variety of vegetables and bread with a warm anchovy-garlic sauce.
For this spring version I served radish, asparagus, red thumb fingerlings, spring onion, baby carrots, and endive. I made the bagna cauda sauce according to the recipe in my Chez Panisse Cafe cookbook and it came out delicious. On the drive over to deliver the food my car was filled with the intoxicating scent of garlic, anchovies, butter and olive oil. Yumm.
As a simple but still high quailty sidekick I served parmigiano reggiano with saba. Parmigiano reggiano is a cow's milk hard cheese made in the Emiliana-Romagne region of Italy, deriving its name from the well known city of Parma also famous for their ham, prosciutto di Parma. I love the nuttiness, saltiness and the grainy texture of the salt crystals from this great cheese. Any other cheeses similar to parmigiano reggiano is referred to as parmesan. Although the quality is just not the same.
I served this delicious cheese with saba, which is a reduction of the must of the trebbiano grape. It's syrupy, rich and sweet, a perfect complement to the nutty sharp parmigiano. I tasted a little broken nub dipped in the saba and it was so good. Saba is super expensive though. My small bottle cost $30! I can actually see dollars flying away as I pour it out. Definitely worth it though. Sometimes you gotta pay up for the high quality goods.
A catered menu for www.writingpad.com