Bagna cauda: a wintery hot dip with piles of fresh crudities

The Piemontese Bagna Cauda

A dish that will give you the perfect excuse to devour a small vegetable patch worth of crudities!

Not only are fresh fruit and veg easier to come by in Summer, the bright warm weather just makes you crave it more: a fresh fruit smoothy to kick off the day, a juicy caprese salad or cundiun (check out my post on this – you’ll love it) or a succulent plate of melon and parma ham.

Come Winter, however, and we wrap up in layers of lard and uniqlo thermals, with the healthy stuff playing a weak understudy role to the more appealing stodge.

A sure way to enjoyably cram in piles of greens this Winter, is to whizz up a steaming pot of bagna cauda.  A typical dish from the Piemonte region, bagna cauda, literally meaning hot sauce, is a creamy anchovy and garlic dip that you just cannot get enough of! It’s a great social dish to crowd around amongst friends and teams up perfectly with piles of fresh vegetable crudités.

You’re right there is a hideous amount of anchovies and garlic in this recipe, but trust me, it works. Probably best avoided before a job interview, or date, as you’re going to want to eat tonnes of this stuff!

 

Notes: (1) This recipe takes a few shortcuts compared to the original, but the end result is just as powerful. The key is to cook over a gentle heat. (2) If you can lay your hands on a fojot, in Italian known as scionfetta, do use these to serve up and keep the sauce hot. Traditionally you would have put burning embers underneath the bowl, but a simple tea light will do. (3) You can give this dish a meaty twist by cooking thin strips of steak by immersing them in your fojot with the bagna cauda.

 

Bagna Cauda with fresh crudities

 

Serves 4. Prep time 10 mins; cook time 45 mins.

Ingredients:
4 bulbs of garlic, cloves peeled and crushed
150g anchovy fillets, drained
600ml full fat milk, or half milk half double cream

Suggested crudités:
Fennel, peppers, celery, chicory, radishes, radicchio, carrots

Wine pairings:
crack open a nice Dolcetto or a Barbera, or a more full-bodied Nebbiolo will also do the trick.

Beer pairings:
a stout like the all-italian Brune from Teo Musso’s Baladin brewery, or a hoppy english bitter such as Harvey’s Best Bitter.

 

Method:

  1. Add the milk/cream and garlic to a pan and simmer over a very low heat for around 25mins.
  2. Take off the heat and blend.
  3. Add the anchovies and cook for another 10mins on a very low heat until the anchovies dissolve.
  4. You’ll notice the sauce will thicken. At this point take off the heat and stir in a few glugs of olive oil.
  5. Stir and serve up in a bowl surrounded by piles of chopped crudités. Enjoy!

 

Thanks for reading

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How do you get your daily dose of fruit and veg in Winter?

3 Comment

  1. I’ve never had bagna cauda!! Can you believe it?

    1. cristiano says: Reply

      Oh no, you absolutely need to try this Christina. It doesn’t really taste of anchovies or garlic… it’s just a super tasty savoury warm dip. People will know you’ve eaten it the next day though – pleanty trident gum needed…

      1. Oh it’s not because I don’t think I’d like it, I’ve just never been exposed to it and have never made it! Will have to try before mum and dad leave. Dad’s anchovy and garlic MAD! 😉

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