Bagna Càuda

As an appetizer for my Piemonte-themed evening I decided to make bagna càuda. This is a hot dip sauce made with olive oil, anchovies, and garlic and served with raw or cooked vegetables to dip. There are many varieties, with a lot of them including butter besides olive oil or even milk or cream. Also the vegetables used are endless.

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I tried it with a lot of vegetables including celery, fennel, and jerasulem artichoke, and decided that I liked red bell peppers and cauliflower best. In Piemonte the bagna cauda is served in an earthenware vessel with a flame to keep it warm called a fujot, and during the trial run I also noticed that I needed one as well. Traditional fujot are difficult to find outside of Piemonte, but I found something that was intended for chocolate fondue that worked very well 🙂

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Ingredients

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extra virgin olive oil

lots of garlic

anchovies

raw vegetables of your choice

Preparation

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Peel the garlic and remove the green center. Mince the garlic very fine. Many recipes require a whole bulb of garlic per person!

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Heat the oil and add the garlic. Cook over medium heat until the garlic starts to turn slightly golden.

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Lower the heat and add minced anchovies.

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Cook this over low heat until the garlic and anchovies have melted.

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I got impatient and used an immersion blender to speed things up 😉

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Serve the bagna cauda in a fujot or something else to keep it warm, with the vegetables that have been cleaned and sliced in bite size pieces.

Wine pairing

The tasting during the serata piemontese showed that we liked the cauliflower best with a white wine from Piemonte called Erbaluce, and the bell pepper best with a red wide from Piemonte called Dolcetto di Dogliano. It is not a coincidence that the color of the vegetable coincides with the color of the wine, as color and flavor often go together.

Flashback

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Two years ago on December 1 I posted about sous-vide rack of lamb. Again the photography leaves a lot to be desired, but you can see very well how beautifully pink the lamb was. Rack of lamb is one of my favorite meats, and cooked sous-vide it is always perfectly medium rare right to the very edge of the meat without any overcooked meat.

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16 thoughts on “Bagna Càuda

  1. Oh, dear me. STEFAN. Massive amounts of anchovies, garlic and olive oil – dipped in vegetables?! I never knew such a dish existed, but it suits my palate perfectly. Do tell me – what inspired you to make this fabulous appetizer? Did your husband and friends also enjoy the intense, amazing flavor? Be well – and rest assure that this will be made in our home; thank you for sharing. Warmly, Shana

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Shanna. The inspiration was that I had a lot of wine from Piemonte in my collection, and decided that my next themed dinner for friends (two nights with 16 friends each, actually) would be about Piemonte. I had never made Bagna Cauda before, but it is one of the most famous appetizers from Piemonte. We certainly enjoyed this!

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      1. Hi, Stefan,
        Two nights with sixteen friends?! How much fun. I am sure that you had the meal planned to “a ‘T,'” as we say in the states. Can you tell me more about the Piemonte in your collection? I did google the region to learn more – it sounds like you can really do no wrong with that wine. 😉 How wonderful that you were inspired to make such an unexpected dish – full of flavor and a great incorporation of fresh vegetables. Your friends are VERY lucky indeed. I hope that you post photos of these FABULOUS dinner parties soon… You have quite the entertaining gift, it seems. Have a wonderful week. Sincerely, Shanna

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  2. I’ve seen this dip prepared, Stefan, but never tried it. I must say, though, if it has anchovies and garlic, you know I’m going to like it. We made our own, room temperature dip but none of us can remember its name. I saw a chef make it once and I cannot remember to ask Zia if this is its name. Does this seem hopeless? 🙂

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  3. This is indeed a true Piedmont dish! unfortunately I have bad experiences 😉 some people have that with tequila or red bull – my vice happens to be Bagna Cauda. But other than that I LOVE the entire rest of the Piedmont kitchen!

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    1. I’ve tried it with bell pepper dipped in bagna cauda, and that was a winner. For cauliflower dipped in bagna cauda we preferred a white wine like gavi di gavi, arneis, or erbaluce (to stay within Piemonte).

      Liked by 1 person

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