Bagnet Vert

Bagnet Vert

Bagnet vert is a traditional herb sauce from Northern Italy. It does look like pesto genovese, doesn’t it? Well, while the look may be similar the taste couldn’t be more different. Bagnet vert is in fact made with parsley, while pesto genovese is made with basil -c’mon you can’t possibly confuse one for the other- and here the flavor is intensified by red vinegar, anchovies and capers instead of being enriched by cheese and pine nuts like in pesto genovese.

This sauce is often used to accompany boiled or roasted meats, but it also makes a great accompaniment to fatty fish like mackerel or herring. It goes great with raw vegetables, too, making for a dip with an intense flavor that is simply divine when served as an appetizer. What I particularly like of bagnet vert, besides the tangy taste, is that it can be made with ingredients I already have at hand, such as day old bread, fresh parsley that generally stays in my fridge unused for days, and those old anchovies and capers leftover from previous recipes. Needless to say that this simple and scrumptious sauce is also packed with nutrients, being parsley possibly the healthiest herb on earth, and with all the good fatty acids of the olive oil and anchovies.

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Inspiration comes from… I wish I could say that I inherited the recipe from my great grandmother, who was indeed from Northern Italy but no, nothing like that. Inspiration comes from one of my favorite bread bibles, Tartine Bread. The author is an embarrassingly handsome Californian man, who always shows a great tan and knows how to surf. I am talking of Chad Robertson, of course, a modern bread icon. Have to admit that his looks initially scared me away and I resisted to buy the book for a while. He just seemed too “cool” for my reach. Alas, in the end I had to get Tartine Bread, and was immediately hooked by the personality of the writer (yes ‘mam this guy has the look AND the brain). I was particularly enchanted by the foreword of the volume, where the baker tells how he started to dream about his country loaf just by looking at a French painting, where a old-time peasant meal was represented. His loaves are indeed very similar to my own idea of what a loaf of bread should look like, and this because I grew up with the rustic sourdough from Genzano and surrounding areas. What puzzles me even more, cause I am not tanned nor Californian and I absolutely can’t surf, is that Chad and I (allow me the familiarity) not only both venerate rustic bread, but also share the same love for earthy and simple accompaniments. So, if you have or plan to get the book, don’t forget to dig into the last section, all dedicated to the “companatico”, i.e. what goes well with bread or is made of bread, like this luscious and yet so simple bagnet vert.

You need:

2 cups day old bread
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon capers
4 olive oil-packed anchovy fillets
1/2 teaspoon marine salt

How to:

Take the bread and either toss it with water and vinegar and let it soften for 10 minutes OR crumble it finely while still dry in a food processor and put it aside.

Bagnet Vert

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Put the other ingredients in the food processor and blend to a smooth puree.

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Add the bread at the end and use more water if the sauce gets too thick.

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And this is how we had it the first night, with pan-fried mackerel and baked sweet potatoes/root sellery

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This is instead as I had it the day after… sometimes pleasure is better enjoyed alone

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Bagnet Vert

Ingredients

  • 2 cups day old bread
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 4 olive oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon marine salt

Directions

1. Take the bread and either toss it with water and vinegar and let it soften for 10 minutes OR crumble it finely while still dry in a food processor and put it aside.
2. Put the other ingredients in the food processor and blend to a smooth puree. Add the bread at the end and use more water if the sauce gets too thick.

Thank you for reading!

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With this recipe I am glad to participate for the first time to Herbs on a Saturday, event created by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and hosted this month by Anneli from Delicieux.

herbsonsaturday

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Comments

  1. Looks delicious and I should try this, al the ingredients being available most of the time.
    Did you use salty or sour capers?

    • I have been using capers for decades and never knew there was a difference. Wow, always learning something. Where I live there is no choice just plain old capers.

      By the way, I want to eat this page!!! Looks so yummy. I guess I need to go to the store on the rainy Florida day. I wonder how it will taste with gluten free bread. I will have to bake the slices to take out the moisture as GF baked goods attract moisture instead of getting dried out.

      • In Sicily they use mostly salted capers- and whenever I can get my hands on those I buy because they taste so much better than those in vinegar.
        And yes, our Barbara writes very mouth-watering

        • @Ninivepisces: thank you Christine for animating my comments’ section. it is so fun when two of you guys starts chatting with each other :) and I used capers in vinegar although I know salted ones would have been even better (and thank you also for the mouth-watering thing).
          @Kristiana: so nice to read you again. you are right, if crumbling the bread in the food processor as I did, toasting the GF bread first is a good idea. but, you can also soften the bread in the water and vinegar required by the recipe and then add the whole thing to the other ingredients. I am sure it will taste just as great with GF bread and, yes, it is worth it to go out in the rain for bagnet vert :) ciao!!

          • So ok, next time when i buy parsley from the turkish store where they sell big big bunches you can never use up, this bagnet will happen- thank you!

  2. This looks amazing and all I have to do is dump the anchovies to make it vegan :)

  3. UUUUUUHHHHHH ma qui si gioca in casa!!!! madonna che buona!!!!
    baci enormissimi

  4. With a dad from Northern Italy I grew up on this stuff! YUM! Though we never add bread to ours. I should try it to see the difference! I loved it on sandwiches.

    • Hi Marcellina, you are right, it’s great on sandwitches and it can also be used as a base and then add more to them. I think the bread adds creaminess but I will also have to try without, ciao!

  5. Looks so yum! Having Northern Italian in-laws, we have been eating this deliciousness for years as a treat at special occassions. My mother in law would spend hours chopping the parsley until it was so fine. She uses the yolk of a boiled egg dissolved in white vinegar along with the bread crumbs but otherwise the recipe is the same. I feel guilty because when I make it I just put it all into the food processor and shazaam! Thanks for all the great photos and inspiration again.

    • Hi Janina! great idea to add the boiled egg, it should make the sauce even creamier. true, before all was made by hand and with extreme care… but it’s so nice to own a blender! :) thank you for reading, ciao!!

  6. This sounds truly fantastic – so savoury and vibrant!

  7. Now, this sounds wonderful – I already imagine myself dipping fresh vegetables into this lucious dipping-sauce. And I didn’t know Chad Robertson – I will have a close look at the guy ;-)

  8. i think i’m going to make it right now for my indulgent brunch… i’m sure it’ll spread beautifully near the Labane cheese… good day :-)

  9. I make this sauce often (perfect with ‘carni lessate’ but I do not use bread….I will try to add it next time!!

  10. Love it! Thanks for recipe :)

  11. buonissima!
    fra

  12. One of my favorite things. As my mom once put it “fare il bollito poi e’ la scusa per mangiare la salsa verde”

  13. What a delicious creation. I don’t think I’ve tried Bagnet vert yet but I can tell I’ll love it a lot looking at the ingredient list. Can’t wait to make some. It must be perfect on many dishes like pasta and seafood.

  14. What a delicious looking thing this is! It looks really nice and thick and includes anchovies, my favourite ingredient! It does look like pesto but I guess it’s more like Salsa Verde but more substantial with the bread in it. I am stealing this for sure! A super Herbs On Saturday entry – thanks!

  15. Labneh is drained yogurt. I can see how it would go well with the bagnet vert. The bright green is hard to resist.

  16. Caroline says:

    My mother is a vegetarian, and anchovies are not on the top of foods I enjoy. We tried leaving out the anchovies, but that was not flavorful enough. We then added a few cloves of garlic. Delicious!

    • thank you Caroline for this account of a vegetarian version of this sauce. I am sure it will help others who wants to try a vegetarian alternative of bagnet vert. ciao!!

  17. Somehow I have missed a few of your posts. Your bagnet vert sauce sounds wonderful.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] mozzarella-like-burratas I’ve had. It was served with bagnet vert which is a most delectable Italian accoutrement made of parsley, anchovies, capers and bread. A couple cherry tomatoes better described as garnish (as there were literally 2 of them) rounded [...]

  2. [...] Bagnet Vert by Barbara from Bread & Companatico [...]

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