- Servings: Makes 1 cup.
Bagda cauda means warm bath, in this case for dipping raw vegetables and spears of bread to catch the drips of this hugely flavorful mixture of garlic, anchovies, olive oil and melted butter.
While the dish was originally created to be used with raw winter vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and leaves of bitter radicchio, it's wonderful year-round with any sturdy vegetable, including zucchini, endive, carrots, celery, asparagus, and sweet bell peppers.
Because the main ingredient is oil, the mixture will keep separating much as a salad dressing would. But just give it a periodic stir and resist any other ingredients, like cream, to emulsify it because this will make the dip far heavier in texture.
You can use anchovies that have been packed either in salt or oil but if you use salt-packed, be sure to rinse them completely before adding to the dip. Before adding any salt to the bagna cauda, taste it first because whether oil or salt packed, the anchovies are salty. If you want a little heat, a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper will do the job.
This dip is always best when served warm. Keep it warm by using a small chafing dish kept over a tea light or other warming device.
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons garlic chopped very fine
- 8 anchovy fillets, chopped very fine (about 3 tablespoons)
- Optional: cayenne pepper
- Raw vegetables including endive leaves, carrot sticks, broccoli or cauliflower florets, slices of raw red pepper, other easy-to-dip vegetables and chunks of bread.
- Add the oil and butter to a small saucepan and place over medium low heat and let the butter melt and just begin to foam.
- Add the garlic and sauté very briefly, enough to cook a bit but not take on any color.
- Add the anchovies and with a wooden spoon, stir to combine, continuing to mash the anchovies so that they break into a paste and almost dissolve into the garlic, oil and butter.
- Taste and if necessary, add a small pinch of salt. If you want a little heat, you can also add a small pinch of cayenne.
- Transfer to a heatproof serving dish and place over a tea light or other warming source. Serve with spears of raw vegetables and chunks of bread to catch any drips.