This Bagna Cauda Roasted Cauliflower recipe was inspired by my Nonna. It was she who introduced me to Bagna Càuda, a traditional Italian warm dipping sauce made with garlic, anchovies, olive oil and butter. Translated literally as ‘hot bath, the dish is typically eaten during the autumn and winter months, served hot in a communally with raw, boiled or roasted vegetables.
She prepared Bagna Càuda in her electric skillet for family gatherings. As the butter melted into the olive oil, the garlic would soften and the warm pool would eventually dissolve the anchovies and transform into a heady, salty and nutty sauce of umami goodness. The aroma was as unique to me as it was captivating. I knew I was smelling ‘the Old World’ before I even knew what that phrase meant.
This sauce is as versatile as it is unique. It can be served traditionally with vegetables, and is also excellent as a pasta sauce. For a dairy-free version of the dish, replace the butter with all olive oil. I used gluten-free panko crumbs to add some contrasting texture by providing an outer ‘crust’. You could also use regular or gluten-free bread crumbs.
I originally tried this recipe as a whole roasted cauliflower. But, cutting it in half ensured even cooking throughout -with added browning as a bonus!
Prepare the Bagna Càuda, sauce by blending together all the ingredients except the Panko or bread crumbs.
Prep the cauliflower by removing all the leaves and cutting the stem so that it is flush with the florets.
Massage the sauce into the cauliflower, rubbing it into the crevices. Then, cover with a thin layer of the Panko or bread crumbs. Place the prepared cauliflower into the baking pan and roast for 30 minutes at 400°. After 30 minutes, remove the pan from the oven.
Using tongs, transfer the cauliflower to a cutting board and cut in half.Transfer the halves back into the pan, cut-side down and return the pan to the over. Roast for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender.
BAGNA CAUDA ROASTED CAULIFLOWER RECIPE
Yield: 2 – 4 sevings.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- Medium or large knife
- Medium cast-iron skillet (or other heavy sauté pan or baking dish)
- Kitchen tongs
- Cutting board
- 1 medium or large head or organic cauliflower, all leaves removed
- 3 tablespoons organic butter, softened
- 4 anchovy fillets or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons gluten-free Panko (or dried bread crumbs)
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Sea salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 400° degrees.
- Blend the butter, olive oil, garlic and red chili pepper flakes in a personal blender. Or, using a fork or a knife, smash the anchovies into a paste. Then transfer the paste to a bowl and add the butter, olive oil, garlic and peppers, stirring to combine.
- Cut the cauliflower stem so that it is flush with the rest of the head. The cauliflower head should be able to stay upright in the baking pan or dish.
- Spread the butter mixture evenly over the top and sides of cauliflower, rubbing it into any crevices.
- Sprinkle a light layer of breadcrumbs over all surfaces of the cauliflower.
- Place the cauliflower into the pan or dish.
- Roast in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom.
- After 25 to 30 minutes, removed the head from the pan, cut in half, and return to the pan, cut sides down. Continue to cook until tender and cooked through, about one hour total cooking time.
- Transfer the cauliflower halves to a platter and spoon any remaining liquid from the pan over the cauliflower.
- Drizzle the halves with the lemon juice and add sea salt to taste. Serve warm.
Let me know what you think!