5 Ingredients or Fewer

Bagna Cauda (Hot Garlic and Anchovy Sauce)

September 15, 2016
4 Ratings
Photo by Emiko
  • Serves 4 as antipasto
Author Notes

This is a traditional autumn recipe from Piedmonte. As this recipe is a celebratory fall dish, it usually features typical seasonal vegetables. Purists will say to only serve this with peppers (raw or grilled, then cut into strips) or raw sticks of cardoons (artichoke thistles, which are a specialty of the area of Nizza Monferrato in the province of Asti). But you'll often see boiled potatoes (if there's anything that's meant to be paired together forever, it's anchovies and potatoes), onions (roasted whole, in their skins, then cut into wedges), raw cabbage leaves, cauliflower, turnips, Jerusalem artichokes, or celery sticks, to give a few more ideas.

To keep it warm during the meal, *bagna cauda* (which literally means "hot sauce") is usually served in a terra cotta bowl built over a candle or a flame (known as a *fujot* in dialect). You can also serve it as a flavorful sauce with roast meat or dolloped onto squares of fried polenta. My personal favorite use for it is stirred through some softly scrambled eggs or even tossed through pasta. —Emiko

What You'll Need
  • 12 plump cloves garlic
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3.5 ounces (100 grams) anchovies in oil
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) of cold butter
  1. Peel the garlic cloves, then mince 4 to 5 of them and finely slice the rest.
  2. Place all the garlic, the olive oil, and anchovies in a small saucepan and place over VERY LOW HEAT. Cook gently for about 20 minutes, or until the garlic is soft and fragrant but do not let the garlic brown or fry (a barely-there sizzle is fine). Keep your eye on it and stir occasionally to check that there's no danger of browning the garlic.
  3. Just before removing from heat, stir through the butter. Serve hot with raw or cooked vegetables cut into sticks or wedges for dipping (see note for ideas). If not using right away, keep in the refrigerator for a few days maximum.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Hollis Ramsey
    Hollis Ramsey
  • pierino
  • Liz D
    Liz D
  • sexyLAMBCHOPx

6 Reviews

Hollis R. October 9, 2017
bagna cauda is my ultimate fantasy dish. this is an excellent recipe, but c'mon -- there MUST be lots more foodstuffs that can be dunked in it. i'll be thinking on it. i'd rather have this on my plate than cakes, cookies, candies, or ice creams. i could, however, make an exception for gelati. but, no, i'd rather have the garlic / oil / anchovy / butter combo than just about ANYTHING ! don't you think it'd make an amazing dressing for a panzanella with grilled veggies?
pierino September 22, 2016
I love bagna cauda. Recently I had very good one at Gardenias in San Francisco. This is my own recipe https://food52.com/recipes/8936-bagna-cauda-al-la-vecchia La Vecchia, the old lady, is the sobriquet for the Juventus football team of Tornino. I've seen at least recipe that includes milk in the "bath" but I'm not ready for that yet.
pierino September 22, 2016
It's a product of my twisted mind.
passionfruit September 24, 2016
My family always makes the version using heavy cream that pierino mentions. We often cook cremini's in it too. The cream acts as somewhat of an emulsifier and binds up all the anchovy and garlic bits so that you get more of those flavors in every bite.
Liz D. September 21, 2016
Here in Nevada, Bagna Cauda has evolved into a whole different animal--The oil is hotter, and it's served as a communal fondue, and one cooks all kinds of meat, seafood & veggies in it. You pull the goodies out of the pan and set them onto a thick slice of Italian bread to cool a bit. You eat the cooked items, then, if you want, you can eat the bread soaked with the tasty butter/oil. It isn't the traditional Italian dish, but it's GOOD. The garlic & anchovies get pretty dark, but they never taste burnt. Lots of red wine usually flows, too...
sexyLAMBCHOPx October 23, 2016
@Liz - sounds so good!