At the end of the grape harvest each year in Piedmont, winemakers feast on a meal that begins with bagna cauda (BAHN-yah KOW-dah), a "hot bath" of olive oil, butter, garlic, and anchovies served with raw vegetables. The anchovies, which are loaded with bone-building calcium and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, give the dip body and a slight saltiness without lending a fishy taste.
6 very small red potatoes (3/4 pound)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 canned anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
24 baby carrots (about 6 ounces)
6 celery stalks, trimmed and quartered
1 head Belgian endive (about 1/4 pound), separated into 12 leaves
1/2 (1 1/4-pound) fennel bulb, trimmed and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices and separated into spears
How to Make It
Steam potatoes, covered, 10 minutes or until tender. Cut each potato lengthwise into 4 wedges.
While potatoes cook, heat oil and butter in top of a double boiler over medium heat 2 minutes or until butter melts. Add salt, anchovies, and garlic; cook 10 minutes or until anchovies begin to dissolve and garlic is soft and fragrant (garlic should not begin to brown or take on any color). Pour sauce into a warm serving bowl; serve warm with vegetables.
Note: Traditionally, the bagna cauda is served in a bowl set over chafing fuel or a tea light so that the sauce stays warm throughout the appetizer course.