- 2 pounds asparagus, ends trimmed
- 2 bunches broccoli rabe (about 3 pounds), trimmed
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- One 3-ounce can flat anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup minced garlic (about 8 cloves)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 fennel bulbs, cut into thin wedges
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
- Fill 2 large bowls with ice water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until it is crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to a bowl of ice water to cool; drain well and pat dry.
- Return the water in the pot to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes; drain. Immediately plunge the broccoli rabe into the other bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well and pat dry.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter in the olive oil over moderately low heat. Add the anchovies and garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant and opaque, 2 to 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Pour the bagna cauda into a heatproof dish or a fondue pot. Arrange the vegetables on a platter and serve with the warm bagna cauda.
To prepare fennel crudités, remove the stalks where they join the bulb; then cut the bulb in half vertically. Cut off any fibrous portions or brown spots. Lay the fennel halves cut side down, and thinly slice them lengthwise; the core will keep the wedges intact. Then cut off the bottom core that holds the slices together.