Bagna Calda / Bagna Càuda is a homey Northern Italian dish from Piemonte made primarily with butter, oil, garlic and anchovies. It is a mainstay at our own family celebrations, but we have never seen it on a restaurant menu… until now! We were at Della (1238 Prospect Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11218) in Brooklyn with friends, when we spotted the bagna cauda on the menu, and we just had to order it. Della has a homey Italian-inflected menu of fish, hearty meat dishes, homemade pastas and some unusual appetizers (case in point). The homemade pasta was delicious, but the bagna cauda was even better. It came served in a small bowl, with endive, radishes and chunks of bread for dipping. We had to ask for more bread to sop everything up- delicious! We encourage you to make bagna calda on your own for your next party – it couldn’t be easier. Even if you don’t normally like anchovies, you can’t help but love the salty, garlicky goodness!
Bagna Càuda (or Bagna Calda) Piemontese for “hot dip” is one of our family holiday favorites, so perfect to share on Thanksgiving. It’s a traditional recipe from the Piedmont region in Northern Italy and is replete with – wait for it – anchovies. So maybe a pungent dip made out of garlic and anchovies is not your thing, but I swear, barely any of us like anchovies even a little bit, and we all love this dip. It’s perfect for sopping up with bread, and if you feel ‘healthy’, veggies. I was intrigued to see a reprint of a 1960s recipe for Bagna Cauda in the New York Times. I’ve only seen it prepared freestyle at home, and as you can see the recipe is basically made to be tinkered with.
The recipe is as follows (directions and all from 1960):
Ingredients (Serves 10):
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced tissue-thin
- One 2-ounce can anchovy fillets, drained
- Salt, if needed
- Fresh vegetables, for serving.
- Combine the butter and oil in a saucepan and add the garlic. Cook over the lowest heat for 15 minutes without letting the mixture boil.
- Chop the anchovies and add to the oil. Stir until the anchovies dissolve. Do not let the sauce boil or brown. Season with salt if needed. Keep hot over a candle or spirit lamp. (See note.)
- Prepare an assortment of raw vegetables, like cucumber, cauliflowerettes, strips of green pepper, celery, carrots and endive. Serve separately for dipping.