I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a fried egg in my life and I’m certainly no anchovy fan (a tiny, hairy fish in a can? yech!), but a few factors conspired to seduce me into making this recipe last week, fried eggs, hairy fish and all. First posted in the New York Times’ food section several weeks ago, the recipe comes from Nancy Silverton’s new cookbook, A Twist of the Wrist: Quick Flavorful Meals with Ingredients from Jars, Cans, Bags, and Boxes. I’d had some recent luck with Times recipes, what with my delightful spinach pancake experience, and was open to trying more. Plus having eaten at Nancy’s Silverton’s trendy new LA pizzeria, Mozza, a few months ago, and sampled her La Brea Bakery breads, I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.
But what really pushed me over the edge was The Wednesday Chef’s review of the recipe. There was talk of laminating the recipe, awe at Nancy Silverton’s creative genius, and I do believe the Wednesday Chef went as far to say that this simple recipe was “one of the best things to ever come out of (her) kitchen”. Well that was enough for me. Much like when Orangette gushed about the soggy, cheesy wonder that is panade, when the Wednesday Chef downright raves about a recipe, I sit up and listen.
Well, this is no panade, but it was pretty darn good. A blend of salty, bitter, and creamy all rolled into one, the flavors came together beautifully, so much so that our dinner guest declared she was going to recreate it at home for her husband. And I was almost able to forget those little fishies that had virtually melted into nothing. (Except when I ate a salty chunk of one accidentally and it kind of skeeved me out- if you’re squeamish about anchovies like me, make sure you saute them heartily until they totally disintegrate.) We decided to ignore Nancy Silverton’s message about making quick, flavorful meals, using this instead as an opportunity for my resident pasta chef, Dylan, to break out the pasta rollers on the Kitchenaid and whip up a batch of fresh pasta. Yum. While I’m not going to go as far as the Wednesday Chef and suggest laminating the recipe, it is definitely worth a try and I would certainly make it again.
We went a little lighter on the olive oil throughout and a little heavier on the pasta than in the recipe posted below.
Egg pappardelle with bagna cauda, wilted radicchio, and an olive-oil fried egg (serves 4)
For the pappardelle and bagna cauda:
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
15 anchovy fillets
8 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
12 radicchio leaves, torn into small pieces
Grated zest and juice of half a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces egg pappardelle (freshly made or store-bought)
For finishing the dish:
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large eggs
1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. To make the bagna cauda: Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and dd the olive oil, anchovies and garlic. Cook, breaking up the anchovies with a fork and stirring constantly, until the anchovies dissolve and the garlic is soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes (this may take longer, so keep over low heat to avoid burning the garlic). Turn off the heat, stir in the parsley, radicchio and lemon zest and juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. To prepare the pasta: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente.
3. To finish the dish: Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat until the oil is almost smoking, about 2 minutes. Break 1 egg into a small bowl and pour into the skillet. When it just begins to set around the edges, break the second egg into the bowl and pour into the skillet. Repeat with the remaining 2 eggs. Cook until the edges are golden, the whites are set and the yolks are still runny.
4. Lift the pasta out of the water using tongs and transfer quickly, while it’s dripping with water, to the skillet with the bagna cauda. Place the skillet over high heat. Toss the pasta to combine the ingredients and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.
5. Divide the pasta among 4 plates. Grate parmesan cheese over each. Place an egg over the cheese. Sprinkle the parsley over the pasta and serve with more grated cheese and pepper.