Bagna Cauda

This is a great dip that needs to be served warm. For those of you who are scared of anchovies, think of of them as an umame delivery system. This is really about an intense, salty savoriness. As I said before, it goes well with bitter vegetables like endive, cauliflower and frisee. Also great for dipping bread.

1 clove of garlic, finely minced
12 anchovy fillets (packed in olive oil), finely chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 tablespoons of cold butter, chopped into 16 chunks

In a cold small saucepan (the smallest you can find), sautee the garlic and anchovy in the olive oil. Heat slowly under a low flame, whisking vigorously to break down the anchovy and and garlic. When the anchovy and garlic are a paste, add the butter one chunk at a time while whisking. This is essentially like making a beurre blanc and the cold butter melts into the bagna cauda and gets emulsified into the bagna cauda.

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3 Responses to Bagna Cauda

  1. Vanessa says:

    Funny- I just made Bagna Cauda this weekend and this discussion came up- the “out of Piedmont” recipes, and the thing you get to eat in Piedmont! Having half of my family in Cuneo (all of my husband’s side), I have to abide to their version of Bagna Cauda- much silkier and made with milk and cream. Olive oil is kind of a side ingredient, although garlic and anchovies take center stage. The result? A creamy white dressing for every single winter vegetables you want to serve up. Yummi!

  2. bayareafoodblog says:

    Fascinating. I read on Chowhound an interesting back and forth about cream in the bagna cauda. The cream does sound amazing and much more Piedmontese considering how far north Piedmont is. Can you send me a recipe for your cream version?

  3. Vanessa says:

    so, I asked my sister in law about the recipe for bagna cauda, and she said:
    “You know, a bit of garlic, half a small pot of milk, then boil, then some anchovies, then after a while a bit of cream depending on how much you like it, and then it’s ready!”
    I thought it was the most hilarious recipe I have ever heard, but I have to give her credit- taste-testing and adjusting lead to a delicious bagna cauda, although I would have preferred it a bit less liquid and a bit more creamy….
    So, I put 4 or 5 cloves of smashed garlic to “rest” in milk for a couple of hours- I used the same amount of milk (“half a small pot”- my pot probably would hold a quart) I used for the full thing. Then I warmed up the milk + garlic over super low heat, and let it go for half a hour or so. Meanwhile I took five cans of sardines, drained them, and mashed them with a bit of the cooking milk with the kitchen mixer till I got a creamy paste. In hindsight I should not have done it because the sauce was WAY too salty and I had to dilute it with more milk, making it runnier. I think three would have been enough). I then added the mixture to the milk and let it simmer anther half hour with a tablespoon of oil. I finally added the cream, “to taste”, and then I let it go over the lowest heat possible- the longer, the better, but it should never boil. We served it in a fondue pot since we didn’t have the proper individual warming dishes, but it was a hit served with boiled cabbage, broccoli, potatoes, roasted bell peppers, carrots and endive. My sister in law also makes boiled eggs with it…
    Good luck, and let me know how it turns out for you!

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