Bagna càuda: authentic Italian recipe for anchovy lovers

Written by on February 27, 2021 in Gastronomy, Recipes

bagna cauda in terracotta dish - Bagna càuda: authentic Italian recipe for anchovy lovers

Bagna càuda: authentic Italian recipe for anchovy lovers

The first time we tried this dish was on New Year’s Eve when our friends Christian and Olympia prepared it. We curiously following the process while sipping some prosecco.

Italians would typically bagna cauda during the autumn and winter month and it is often on the table at Christmas.

Bagna càuda originates from the Piemonte region and has been the part of Piemontese cuisine since the 16th century. It is a hot dish, a kind of dipping sauce, similar to cheese fondue. Its name translates as “hot sauce”. It can be served both as an appetizer or a main dish. And it is a social dish, made for sharing.

It is prepared using olive oil, a lot of chopped anchovies and garlic. As it has only a few ingredients you need to make sure that they are high quality. There are 2 versions of preparation, with or without milk. Christian & Olympia prepared the one with milk and it was delicious.

The sauce is kept hot by serving it in “fujot”, which is little terracotta dish, where you can place candle underneath.

ingredients garlic, olive oil and anchovy

Ingredients for 6 people:

6 garlic heads (normally 1 head of garlic per person), 350 g whole milk, 150 g extra virgin olive oil, 300 g anchovy preserved in salt. In case you cannot find salt packed achieves you can also use the ones in oil, like we did.

Then you will need 5-6 types of seasonal vegetables, cut up raw, like carrots, cabbage, peppers, fennel, celery, radicchio, cauliflower or anything else you fancy. They are for dipping in the sauce, which is also great for drizzling over some crusty bread or boiled potatoes, like you would with a cheese fondue.

step by step method of preparation

How to prepare the Bagna càuda:

Start by cleaning the garlic heads, cut the cloves it in half and remove the core. Place them in a saucepan and pour over the milk. Bring it to the boil and then simmer it for 15/20 minutes until the garlic is soft. In a separate saucepan over a moderate heat, melt the anchovies in the butter and oil. Then combine the cooked garlic, together with the milk, with the anchovy cream and wiz them with hand blender until you have a fine and homogeneous cream.

Chop up all your seasonal vegetables, place them on a big serving plate in the middle of the table. Pour some hot bagna cauda into each of the little “fujot” – small individual serving bowls that sits above a burning candle to keep the contents warm. And everyone tuck in!

A perfect wine to have with bagna caude would be a Dolcetto d’Alba from the Langhe area of Piemonte, Dolcetto is a not too powerful red wine that nicely complements the strong savoury taste of the sauce.

If you happen to be in Piemonte during the 3rd week of November you can join in with the celebrations of ‘Bagna Càuda National Day!’.

Buon Appetito!!

Read more about the charming Le Langhe wine region.

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