Bagna cauda is Italian for hot bath and refers to pungent anchovy and olive oil dip. Since the solids in bagna cauda fall to the bottom, it is best set out in a shallow dish or a fondue pot. You can vary the vegetables for the crudités and also serve toasted bread chunks.
Cocktail Party Recipes
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
How to Make It
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.
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