The name of this Italian classic means “hot bath.” It invites a wide assortment of both raw and blanched vegetables for dipping. You can use good-quality canned anchovies or purchase loose-pack anchovies from a specialty market. Because this dish is rather messy to serve, it is ideal for an outdoor garden party. Just set up the fondue pot on a patio table. Some of my friends who were of Italian heritage used to stage an annual party around this dish. Guests would bring either vegetables for dipping or a dessert. Custom decreed that eating bagna cauda would bring good health throughout the year.
Makes6 to 8 appetizer servings
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
One Pot MealYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursehot appetizer
Dietary Considerationpeanut free, tree nut free
Taste and Texturebuttery, crunchy, garlicky, hot & spicy, savory
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 6 anchovies (canned or loose-pack), diced
- Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Red and gold bell pepper strips
- Celery or fennel strips
- Small mushroom caps
- Red or gold cherry tomatoes
- Zucchini or yellow summer squash slices
- Jicama slices
- Snow peas, ends trimmed and blanched for 1 minute in boiling water
- Cauliflower florets, blanched for 1 minute in boiling water
- Broccoli florets, blanched for 1 minute in boiling water
- Cooked whole artichokes
- and/or sourdough bread, thinly sliced
In a fondue pot over medium-low heat, combine the olive oil, butter, garlic, anchovies, and red pepper flakes, if using. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat until the butter is melted, stirring to blend all ingredients. Reduce the heat to low; the mixture should stay warm but the butter should not brown.
Arrange your choice of 5 to 6 vegetable dippers on a platter at the table or in individual salad bowls. Guests can dip a vegetable into the bagna cauda and use a slice of bread to catch the drips.
2005 Lou Seibert Pappas