Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bagna Cauda and Babylon 5

I've been re-watching Babylon 5 episodes on Netflix streaming, in part because of this Making Light thread from Abi Sutherland. In the fourth episode of season 2, "A Distant Star," Michael Garibaldi has a birthday. In honor of his father Alfredo Garibaldi, who always made Michael's favorite dish for him on his birthday, Michael makes bagna càuda.

Bagna càuda is a traditional dish from the Piedmont region of Italy; essentially a fondue, it's made with olive oil, butter, garlic and anchovies, heated and melted together. Diners dip vegetables into the sauce, and eat them with a carefully positioned pice of bread to catch the drips, and then they eat the bread, as they do on the Babylon 5 episode. Alternatively bagna càuda may be served over pasta. There are a couple of variations on the basic recipe; here's the most traditional take on bagna càuda, and yes, it's a traditional Christmas buffet item in much of northern Italy. Bagna càuda is particularly festive when served with roasted peppers for dipping. There's a lovely article about bagna càuda on the New York Times site that places bagna càuda in the context of Craig Claiborne's position as the New York Time's food editor in the sixties.

I couldn't find the actual bagna càuda clip from Babylon 5, but Mac said to post this one instead.