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Bagna Cauda – – an Italian “hot bath”

Growing up, we ate this delicious dish each fall. Crisp vegetables, cured meats and crusty bread dipped in this “hot bath” of garlic, anchovies, and butter is unbelievably fantastic.  It hails from the northern parts of Italy. My mother’s family is from the Alto Adige region and now it’s time to imbibe again.

Serves 4 – 6

1/2 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

3  Tb. butter

6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

10 salt-cured filets of anchovy, rinsed and boned, finely chopped

Kosher salt

Raw vegetables to your liking (carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, celery, radishes, endive, cardoons, radicchio, etc.) cut up

Sliced bread (good crusty artisan bread)

Thinly sliced cured meats (salami, prosciutto, etc.)

1. Heat the oil and butter in a sauce pan over medium-high heat until butter begins to foam.  Add the garlic and cook for approximately 10 – 15 seconds, do not allow to brown or burn.

2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the finely chopped anchovies.  Stir and press them with a wooden spoon until they are broken into very small pieces or even until they “dissolve”. The hot bath will become cloudy.  This should take about 4 minutes.

3. Season with salt to your taste and serve immediately as a dip for your vegetable/meat/bread pairings. Some Italians, just before serving will add about 1 tsp. of vinegar, this is optional.

Note: Traditionally, Italians will serve this in a pot over a small candle to keep warm.

Another side note: We also only ate it on a Friday or Saturday evening as not to offend our office mates with the garlic.  Do try it, you’ll be blown away.

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