Alex Rushmer‘s vegan version of an Italian fondue classic
Bagna càuda is a northern Italian take on fondue, traditionally made with anchovies, garlic and olive oil. This vegan version uses miso and whole lemons in place of anchovies.
I first read about it in Jeremy Fox’s masterful book On Vegetables, and have since made various versions, including one with sesame oil to really ramp up the Japanese flavours – particularly great when used to flavour aubergine.
It’s a deeply flavoursome, umami-rich, bitter-sour condiment that enhances your food in countless ways. For this version, I’ve paired it with broccoli and a labneh made from cashew nuts to keep the dish completely vegan.
For the cashew labneh
125g cashew nuts, soaked overnight in water
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
Salt, to taste
For the miso bagna cauda
2 whole lemons, finely diced and deseeded
350ml olive oil
150g white miso
3 heads garlic, peeled and grated
1 head of broccoli, broken into florets
serves four as a starter
To make the cashew labneh, drain the cashew nuts and add to a blender along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth, then add salt to taste. Blend again and store in the fridge until needed.
To make the miso bagna càuda, place a pan half-filled with water over a medium heat and bring to a gentle boil.
Add the diced lemon, olive oil, garlic and miso to a bowl and cover tightly with cling film.
Place the bowl over the boiling water and steam for 60 minutes. Taste for seasoning and transfer to a container. Store in the fridge (almost indefinitely).
Heat the oven to 200°C. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil to a large oven-proof frying pan and place over a high heat.
Heat until the oil begins to smoke and add the broccoli florets. Don’t move them for at least a couple of minutes to allow them to char and blacken slightly.
Turn the broccoli pieces, then add two tablespoons of miso bagna càuda to the pan. Turn the broccoli through it to coat, then place the pan in the oven and roast for four minutes. The broccoli should retain a little bite.
Place a spoonful of cashew labneh onto a plate, top with the roasted broccoli and garnish with flaked almonds.