Originally from the Piedmont region of Italy, Bagna Cauda and the lovely vegetables available right now are good reasons to bring out the fondue pot & forks or candle or other fuel warmer to enjoy this communal treat.
The choice of vegetables to offer is limited only by your imagination. This time I served raw red bell peppers, fresh snap peas, steamed red potato quarters, blanched tiny patty pan squash and poached shrimp along with freshly made rolls.
Other favorite vegetables to dip are carrots, fennel, steamed artichokes, celery, steamed green beans, cardoons, etc.
The ingredients are few and the 'recipe' very simple ~
4 cloves garlic, crushed
l 1/2 oz. butter, melted
4 oz. salted anchovies (you may use anchovies filets packed in olive oil, but the dry-salt anchovies produce a finer sauce)
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup olive oil
Sauté the crushed garlic and chopped anchovy fillets in the oil. Stir constantly until the anchovies disintegrate. Add butter and mix. Add pepper to taste. Serve in a pot, for everyone to dip the vegetables in, or in individual terracotta bowls. If you like a milder sauce add a small amount of cream at the last minute, it will render the garlic a bit less assertive.
The important thing to remember is Bagna Cauda must be placed on some kind of a warmer, so it will simmer constantly.
I usually offer a couple of bowls of salad dressing or other dips on the side for those unfortunate souls who don't care for this delectable treat, that way everyone is happy.