Bagna cauda

Bagna cauda

By
From
How I cook
Serves
4-6
Photographer
Jason Lowe

This is a lovely Italian sharing dish from the northern region of Piedmont. Bagna cauda – literally hot bath – is a piquant anchovy-based sauce in which vegetables are dipped (or bathed) and eaten with the fingers. Jerusalem artichokes and cardoons (which the Italians call 'gobi') are authentic accompaniments.

Typically, the sauce is kept warm on a little tabletop stove. Often, when all the vegetables and sauce have been eaten, an egg is cracked into the pan and stirred until silky and scrambled.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
200ml mild-tasting extra virgin olive oil
150g unsalted butter
12 good-quality tinned anchovies or from a jar (ortiz, for example), chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 lemon, finely grated zest
freshly ground black pepper

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
selection of vegetables for dipping, such as cardoons, jerusalem artichokes, small new potatoes, little carrots, fennel, celery and radishes
rustic bread

Method

  1. Put the olive oil, butter, anchovies, garlic and lemon zest into a pan over a very low heat and add a few grindings of pepper. Stir constantly until the butter melts and the anchovies disintegrate – you should have a thick, homogenised, sludgy pale brown sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  2. To prepare the vegetables: peel the cardoons and boil for 15–20 minutes; scrub the jerusalem artichokes clean and boil for 15–20 minutes; scrub the new potatoes and boil for about 15 minutes until just tender. Drain the boiled vegetables thoroughly. Carrots, fennel, celery and radishes are served raw: simply clean and slice the fennel and celery. Arrange the vegetables on a serving platter.
  3. Serve the bagna cauda with the dipping vegetables and crusty, open-pored bread, which can be similarly dragged through the sauce.
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