Bagna cauda
A tasty dip for raw vegetables. Perfect for a simple dinner party or for a large gathering at a cocktail party. Bagna cauda literally means "hot bath". It comes from the Piedmont region and is best kept warm over a small food warmer or spirit flame in a flameproof bowl or dish.  
Region: Piedmont
Preparation: Easy
Serves: 4 people
Ingredients:
• 7 / 9 oz (200-250 g) of good quality olive oil;
• 2 oz (50 g) of butter;
• 4 garlic cloves;
• 3 1/2 oz (100 g) of salted anchovies.
 
  Preparation:
Place on moderate heat and dissolve the anchovies in the olive oil, mince 4 garlic cloves and soak them in a quarter litre of milk (to soften the taste of garlic and make the dish more digestible). Remove the cloves from the milk and add to the dissolved anchovies. Stir and simmer until the anchovies and the garlic are well dissolved.

Prepare the vegetables:
Clean the cardoons, celery, cabbage, fennel and Jerusalem artichokes and cut them into slices as they are to be dipped raw into the bagna cauda;
boil the potatoes and turnips and bake the onions; the peppers can be consumed either raw or cooked.
 
Notes
With a fork in one hand and a hearty slice of traditional home-made bread in the other, gather around the pan as though you were called to Parliament, use the fork and bread together to accompany the vegetables that are dipped into the hot bagna cauda. Just pause now and again, for a sigh or a remark, you may want to use this opportunity to help yourself to a sip of good quality red wine.

Appetite, and this is the marvellous thing, remains intact, indeed stimulated. Countryfolk, the inventors of "Bagna Cauda", are accustommed to taking any leftover sauce and adding a scrambled egg to it, this may be served as an additional meal.
 

 

 

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