Bagna Càuda is an incredibly appetizing dish that originated in Italy’s Piedmont region. It literally translates to “hot bath” and cloves of garlic and anchovies are drenched in a hot or rather warm bath of olive oil. It makes a great appetizer and is a wonderful accompaniment for spring vegetables. The original Piedmontese recipe may call for the garlic to be finely chopped or minced to blend with the anchovies to create more of a dip-like consistency. I enjoy the garlic whole, but either preparation will appeal to garlic lovers. The recipe is incredibly simple and forgiving; add more garlic or anchovies as desired. And be sure to start with fine ingredients for a truly tasty dish.
2 heads of peeled garlic cloves
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 anchovy fillets, rinsed and finely chopped
In a heavy deep pan, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat on the stovetop. Add the anchovies and the garlic and stir occasionally. Simmer until the garlic turns lightly brown, roughly 12-15 minutes. Serve warm with a platter of crudités or blanched vegetables, fresh baguette or a good loaf of hearty bread. For a bit of heat, add a dash of red chili flakes while cooking, and chopped parsley sprinkled on top before serving adds color to the dish.
I can’t resist dipping my fork in to savor the soft garlic, and it’s delectable when spread across hearty bread. Neither the anchovies nor the garlic will overpower your palate. The sweetness that’s brought out in the garlic from simmering in the oil blends beautifully with a welcome bite of saltiness from the anchovies. Easy to prepare, your taste buds will appreciate it.