Chef Chris Cosentino is affiliated with all things meaty: His famed restaurant Incanto makes head-to-tail dining the norm, and his follow-up Boccalone Salumeria is one of SF’s prime pig-part purveyors.
But his first cookbook, Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal (releasing today), shows the decidedly more vegetarian side of Cosentino. Sixty-plus recipes are dedicated to first courses — animals not always included. This spring he encourages us to ransack the farmers market for veggies to plunge in the traditional Piedmontese dip.
When he dips, you dip, we dip.
Barolo Bagna Cauda
1 bottle Barolo or cabernet sauvignon (preferably from Napa Valley)
1 c. extra-virgin olive oil
½ c. olive oil
2 salt-packed anchovies, soaked in cold water for 15-20 min., drained, filleted, and rinsed
¼ c. marinated white anchovy fillets
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
Juice and fine zest of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Small spring vegetables for dipping (young carrots, celery hearts, spring onions, radishes with tops, endive spears, blanched pole beans, and baby fennel)
1. Pour wine into a nonreactive saucepan. Over medium-high heat bring it to a boil; cook until reduced by half. Let it cool.
2. In a blender, combine reduced wine, both olive oils, both types of anchovy, garlic, lemon zest and juice; process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. To serve, return the mixture to the saucepan and warm over medium-low heat.
4. Pour into a warmed heatproof serving bowl and accompany with vegetables for dipping. If desired, keep mixture warm by placing it on a stand set over a tea light or small sterno.
Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal is available online at amazon.com, $16.50. Published in collaboration with Williams-Sonoma and Weldon-Owen.
Photo: Michael Harlan Turkell / Courtesy of Williams-Sonoma and Weldon-Owen