This is a fantastic appetizer.
It is a Piemontese recipe from the Northern part of Italy. There are so many different versions of this wonderful hot dip.
Bagna Cauda is Latin, in Italian it is Bagna Calda, meaning "hot bath". Spell it however you want.
It is FANTASTIC served with toasted bread and blanched vegetables, which is the traditional way. It is much like a fondue! Everyone stands around the little sterno pot and dips!
My mother-in-law's famiglia used to keep it warm on a hot brick! (now that's inventive!).
The hardest part is finding the right pot for it!
I have a Le Creuset fondue pot, but it doesn't get it hot enough.
This lovely stainless pot was found by my friend Stephanie at Target!
She served the bagna cauda with blanched cauliflower, green beans and bell peppers.
There are so many different recipes for bagna cauda. It's just a difference in the amount of anchovies and garlic cloves you use.
Mario Batali uses milk in his, and I have seen others that use cream.
This recipe is from The Little Italy Cookbook, a Brooklyn/NJ sort of cookbook that has so many great recipes. I love to visit this book, it reminds me of my friends growing up and their Italian American mothers' wonderful cooking.
Bagna Cauda: (from The Little Italy cookbook)
1 cup good extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped (you can also slice your garlic)
6 anchovy fillets (the ones packed in salt are best), rinsed & chopped
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp of chopped fresh Italian parsley
Heat the olive oil and garlic in a double boiler over medium heat for 8 minutes, until the oil is hot.
Turn off the heat but leave the pot on the stove (or sterno, if using). Add the anchovies, pepper flakes and black pepper; keep warm for 20 minutes, allowing the flavors to combine thoroughly. Add the parsley and dip away!!
My aunt and second cousin were the champion bagna cauda makers..
We used celery bent to make a very convenient "boat" to hold plenty of bagna, held over a slice of great Italian bread. Around the table we'd walk while the pot stayed hot on a HOT BRICK!! It was a major argument if someone used their hunk of bread for dipping!
Thanks for the memories.
I love it served with raw fennel!