Validating my cookbook collection, one damn recipe at at a time

27: Broccoli and Anchovy Bagna Cauda with Parmesan — Tyler Florence Fresh

27: Broccoli and Anchovy Bagna Cauda with Parmesan — Tyler Florence Fresh

I forgot the Parmesan. Let’s just get that out of the way off the bat.

This week, after last week’s sushi adventures and cake baking and recreational queso dip, I needed a low-key week. Which is why I was totally dismayed that this book was rolling up for its turn.

The Assignment: Broccoli and Anchovy Bagna Cauda with Parmesan from Tyler Florence Fresh by Tyler Florence

Tyler Florence Fresh
Tyler Florence Fierce
Tyler Flor-ocious

I only just realized that “Tyler Florence” was part of the actual title of this book. I just thought it was Fresh. It’s way funnier like this. I’m just hearing it in my head in a Peter-Boyle-as-Frankenstein’s-monster voice: “FIRE BAD! TYLER FLORENCE FRESH! RWAAAAHHH!”

I’ve had kind of a crush on chef and TV personality Tyler Florence since college, when I discovered Food Network and, more specifically, Food 911.

“So this total babe just shows up at your home and helps you cook delicious food? This total babe who is very good at cooking but refreshingly non-condescending about it?”

It was a huge disappointment in my life that I never had — nor do I currently have — a kitchen sufficient enough to host an episode of this show.

“You have this big ass kitchen and you can’t make beef-damn-stroganoff??” my 19-year-old self would wail at the TV.

“But Dana, you can cook and you’ve always been pretty proficient at it.” SHHHH. TYLER FLORENCE DOESN’T NEED TO KNOW THAT. “Why do you keep using his full name?” Because a Tyler Florence is way better than just a Tyler. And if I just call him Florence, then I start thinking of The Machine, and then where are we?

I got this book many years ago, and was pumped. This was no Food 911-level dumbed-down stuff — this book was cheffy and ingredient-driven as hell. If his Food Network shows were his boy-band pop career, this book was his gritty solo project that reminded people what a serious artist he was underneath all the approachable fare.

It was so cheffy and ingredient-driven, in fact, that I was like, “WTF? Lobster? Agar agar powder? Salmon roe? This is way above my pay grade.” And I promptly ignored the book.

But once I looked back, I realized the ingredient lists weren’t THAT scary. And that I’d gotten a lot better at knowing where the hell to find ingredients.

The Recipe (straight from the book, which you should get if you’re not intimidated by recipes that call for fenugreek and dried rose petals):

Things to Note About This Recipe:

  • The things that make you go “huh?” in this ingredient list are not as obscure as you might think. Boquerones a.k.a. marinated white anchovies? You can get them at Whole Foods, refrigerated by the fresh fish counter! Calabrian chiles? They had them at my local Ralph’s (a Kroger grocery store), stashed along with the olives and pepperoncini. The rest of the ingredients are pretty easy.
  • If you’re skittish about anchovies and the only ones you’ve ever had are the canned kind, boquerones might change your mind. They’re less intensely salty and, because they’re marinated in a vinegar mix before being packed in oil, there’s a tartness to them that you don’t find in the canned version. I love most anchovies, but these are a special treat.
  • “Should I clarify my own butter?” I did, but if you’ve got ghee around already, you do not have to.
  • It doesn’t say to chop the chiles, but you should. Just roughly, though.
  • I cheated the regular broccoli a bit, because I already had steamed broccoli cooked up. And like hell was I going to cook up EVEN MORE BROCCOLI when I already had some. I just threw it onto the pan halfway through cooking the broccolini.
  • If your broccolini is kinda wispy, like mine was, check on it around the 14 minute mark. Mine came out a tad charred, which was fine, but just a heads up.
  • Yes, I forgot to add the Parmegiano-Reggiano before taking the picture but a) by the time I realized it, I was already into a feeding frenzy, and b) it would have been good BUT there’s plenty of flavor without it.
  • The recipe says it serves 4 – 6. I say it serves whoever is brave enough to fight me for it. This stuff is gooooooooooooooood. The blend of big flavors bouncing off each other is fully the kind of thing I’m into. (Sounds pervy, but I’m going with it.)
  • That bagna cauda (Italian for “hot dip”) leaves you with WAY more oil than that broccoli needs. After dousing my roasted veg in puh-lenty of the oil, I scooped out the rest of the goodies for the broc, and then saved the remaining flavored oil for another time. Considering I drained the last of my olive oil into that mix, I’m holding onto it. But yeah, you could def get away with halving the oil & butter. (P.S. Typical bagna cauda has anchovies more broken down and blended with the oils, but this dish is a bit more deconstructed.)

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THE VERDICT

How did it taste?
Really damn great. So great that I’m exhibiting major restraint in not digging back into the leftovers. I’m curious how it’ll be tomorrow, and I suspect the answer will be “fucking awesome.”

Would I make this again?
YES. I’d make it full-out like this for company, but I’ll probably make a simpler, less oily version for myself now that I have the ingredients.

Do I recommend this book?
I do. It does appear to be a tad hard to get your hands on, but this book is cool if you’re up for it. I’m gonna try to be less easily intimidated. (Yeah, I know where to get edible marigolds, Tyler Florence!)

What’s the next recipe I want to make from this book?
There’s the recipe I initially planned to make from this book: Pain Perdu, Roasted Figs, Maple, and Ice Cream. (Cue raucous laughter at my misguided ambition.) I also really want to make the Buttermilk Panna Cotta, Cherries, Pistachios, and Basil. What am I more likely to make? The Six-Minute-and-Twenty-Five-Second Egg, Anchovy Mayo, Arugula, and Celery Salt. Because those ingredients sing the song of my damn heart. That said, maybe I’ll get all molecular-gastronomy crazy, get that agar agar powder, and make some balsamic pearls after all.

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Y’ALL, I’ve almost hit my 30 recipe goal and I’m so effing proud of myself! My final 3 books include:
1) a cookbook that I’ve had for about 15 years,
2) a cookbook by a chef who I’m constantly referencing because he’s a genius and also his book could double as a blunt-force-trauma weapon, and
3) one of the most famous cookbooks of all time by one of the most famous chefs of all time.

Nothing like procrastination, eh? Three more damn recipes to go…



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