Foods | Cooking
Hints & Tips
Bagna Cauda [BAHN-yah KOW-dah], also spelled bagna caôda,
is a specialty of Piedmont, Italy. Translated, it means "warm sauce or hot bath.
The bath, olive oil, is gently warmed with garlic cloves and anchovies until the oil is scented,
the garlic is softened, the anchovies are dissolved and tamed. Essentially, it is an Italian dip.
Although the original Bagna Cauda was very simple, often
thrown together as a morning snack for vineyard workers pruning the vines in
midwinter, it has since moved into the realm of the home and been spruced up.
The sauce is sometimes served over a candle to keep it warm. In Alba, you might
find it with truffles. Sometimes it's made with milk or butter. Sometimes it's
made with walnut oil.
I adapted this recipe from the
Genova Restaurant in Portland, Oregon. This sauce is served in a pot, for everyone to dip the vegetables into. Serve it with chunks of
crusty bread and your favorite raw vegetables. It's fun for a party appetizer no matter where you live.
Don't forget to check out my
Honey-Glazed Ham Easter dinner menu and
Prime Rib Dinner Menu which includes this great Creamy Bagna Caudu
as a before dinner appetizer.
Creamy Bagna Cauda Recipe - Italian Bagna Cauda Recipe:
Dips & Spreads,
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 15 min
Raw vegetables of your choice (see below) (or a combination of both)
6 to 8 cloves
1/4 cup butter or extra-virgin
10 finely chopped flat
anchovy fillets packed in olive oil, drained*
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1 (1 pound) loaf crusty Italian or
French bread, cut into 2-inch sections
* Use only good-quality Spanish or Portuguese anchovies. Anchovy paste may be substituted (approximately two
inches squeezed from the tube will provide the equivalent taste of one anchovy fillet). More anchovy fillets may be added according to your personal taste.
To purchase Anchovies and Anchovy Paste, check out What's Cooking America's Kitchen Store.
Wash and prepare the vegetables several hours before using them. Cut vegetable into strips
about 3 inches long and 1/2-inch wide. Place all the vegetables in ice water to crisp.
NOTE: Remember, this is a dip for vegetables freshly
picked at the peak. Use only the youngest, sweetest variety of them as
possible, and before serving pat all the vegetables dry with a towel.
In a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, add cream and garlic cloves; bring just to a boil,
lower heat to medium, and cook, stirring constantly to prevent scorching or
boiling over, approximately 15 minutes or until the cream has thickened and reduced by half (approximately 1 cup). Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
In another saucepan, melt the butter (or olive oil). Mash anchovies with a fork and add to butter, along
with cayenne pepper and parsley; cook until the anchovies dissolves into a paste, about 5 minutes.
Put the reduced cream, garlic cloves, and anchovy mixture into a blender and purée until the mixture is very smooth. (The recipe may
be made ahead to this point.)
In a saucepan, reheat the Bagna Cauda at a very slow simmer, stirring constantly, but do not let it boil.
Serve in warming dish over candle (a fondue pot works well). If sauce begins to separate while
standing, a few turns with a whisk will bring it back together. Sauce
may be made ahead and kept refrigerated in covered jar. To re-warm, place jar in cold water
in a pan and gently raise the heat until mixture is liquid again.
Dip vegetables into the Bagna Cauda (a fondue-style fork will help), holding a piece of bread
under the vegetable after dipping. After dipping a few pieces, the bread will be fragrant with oil and delicious to eat.
Makes 6 to 8 servings (1 1/2 cups).
Bell peppers (red and yellow)
Small whole mushrooms