Bagna Cauda . . A true Piedmont legend.
The roots of this Italian dish are somewhat confused, it is believed to be from Piedmont (Bagna Caoda is believed to come from the Piedmontese for "hot dip"). The dish is very similar to a fondue, but with a warm anchovy, garlic and butter dip rather than melted cheese. There are so many regional variations to this dish, around Alba shaved truffle is added to the dip, in other areas hazelnut oil or walnut oil is used instead of olive oil.
As far as the vegetables are concerned, it's a case of whatevers in season goes. The vegetables should be chopped into bite size pieces like crudites but apart from that its completely up to you. I used radishes, broad beans, carrots, cos lettuce, carrots, celery and peppers, but, cauliflower, raddicchio, puntarelle, fennel, courgette , Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus, artichoke leaves, cardoons, anything really can be used.
for the Bagna Cauda
4 garlic cloves, peeled
milk to cover
10 anchovy fillets
75g butter, cut into pieces
50ml extra virgin olive oil
your choice of raw vegetables
A little beaten egg (optional)
Put the garlic cloves into a small pan, cover with milk and cook extremely slowly over a very low heat until the garlic is soft. Remove from the heat and crush the garlic into the milk until the mixture becomes creamy. Add the anchovies and let them dissolve, stirring over a very low heat. When everything is amalgamated, add the butter and olive oil and stir gently to combine.
Pour the bagna cauda into little fondue dishes, or into one single one, and keep warm over a lighted candle. Now, one by one, dip the tips of the vegetable pieces into it, and eat with bread. Repeat this until you have finished everything or you are satisfied! At the end, you can stir a spoonful of beaten egg into the last of the sauce and let it coagulate. This will be the last wonderful morsel.