Make Ahead

Bagna Cauda (Piedmontese Warm Garlic-Anchovy Dip)

May  9, 2011
1 Ratings
  • Serves 6 as an appetizer
Author Notes

This recipe comes from my friend Jessica Theroux's cookbook, Cooking With Italian Grandmothers. —Merrill Stubbs

What You'll Need
  • 3 whole heads garlic, broken into cloves and peeled
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 5 anchovy fillets, rinsed if salted and finely chopped
  • Blanched or raw vegetables for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt
  1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and gently drop in the garlic cloves. Boil gently for 10 minutes and then remove and drain the garlic cloves. Mash the garlic in a mortar and pestle or however else you choose.
  2. Warm the olive oil in a small, heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add the anchovies and the garlic, bring to a simmer and lower the heat so the liquid is barely bubbling. Cook very gently for half an hour, stirring occasionally so that the garlic doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Blanch and cut up the vegetables while the dip is simmering and arrange them on a large platter.
  4. When the bagna cauda is ready, add lots of black pepper and some more salt if necessary. Serve warm with the vegetables.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Marihada
  • lorigoldsby
  • Merrill Stubbs
    Merrill Stubbs
  • sel

10 Reviews

Marihada December 12, 2013
Our family recipe is almost the same, but we just mince the garlic and cook it right in the olive oil with the anchovies (and a pinch of crushed red pepper) until they both just melt, and then whisk in butter at the end. We've made this on the night before Thanksgiving, so that none of us have to cook or even really do dishes!
sel August 16, 2013
bagna cauda, brings back warm cozy
winter evenings around a huge, friends and platters of
veggies, crab, lobster, whatever you got.
i must say this, ours, is different then the recipe here... garlic, lots of anchovies, pure 'good' butter, and heavy cream. All gently cooked to a creamy sweet substance. Who could say anything bad about this once in a great while?
Diego May 22, 2014
Yes. You are correct! If you want to be traditional, you do not use olive oil. This is a piedmontese dish. BUTTER is called for! Piedmont is on the pianura of Italia and the buteri had butter and milk! It is where grana padano cheese comes from. My maternal and paternal grandparents were from Canavese. Both sides made this dish. No black pepper either. You can add 1/4 cup of heavy cream at the end too.
paulacurry911 December 6, 2011
My cousin remembers having the bagna cauda spooned over polenta for dinner. Also, having the
polenta cut into squares the next morning, sauted in butter and topped with a sunny side up egg.
tamater S. June 19, 2015
I know your post was 4 yrs. ago, but I couldn't help thanking you for reminding me of a great memory of those sautéed polenta squares, brown and crispy at the edges….and if it was up in the garden, a side of bright red fried tomatoes, dotted with diced onion and green pepper.
VeggieQueen December 6, 2011
My mum makes a mean bagna cauda - a good tip is to serve it over a small candle when you're eating it as it gets cool quickly! Well that's how we do it in my house anyway :)
VeggieQueen December 6, 2011
My mum makes a mean bagna cauda - a good tip is to serve it over a small candle to keep it warm when you're eating it as it gets cool fast! Well that's how we do it in my house anyway :)
Merrill S. December 6, 2011
Good pointer, thanks!
lorigoldsby May 10, 2011
LOVE, Love, love bagna cauda! Although my recipe calls for cream and while we do dip some vegetables in it, it seems I'm constantly refilling the bread basket! Even people who would never order anchovies on their pizza should try this, more like a warm cesear salad dressing.
Merrill S. May 10, 2011
Wow, that sounds great!