Bagna Cauda

A Warm’ Bath” of Anchovies, Garlic, and Olive Oil

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

The Cuisine of the Sun

By Mireille Johnston

Published 1990

  • About

This sauce is a delectable accompaniment to crisp raw vegetables (see Crudités et Bagna Cauda). It can be heated and poured over room-temperature leftover slices of meat (from an abundant pot-au-feu, for instance) to make a zesty dish.


  • 12 whole anchovies
  • 3 slices of bread, with crust removed
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter


Wash the anchovies and fillet them (discard the backbones and tails). Place the bread in a bowl, pour the milk on it, and mash it with a fork. Squeeze out the excess liquid and set aside.

Place the anchovy fillets in a mortar or bowl and mash them with a pestle or fork. Pass the garlic through a garlic press and add to the anchovy paste. Add the bread paste, and stir and pound. Slowly beat in the olive oil and pepper to make a smooth sauce.

Heat the butter in a small saucepan over a low flame. Add the anchovy-and-bread mixture. Heat gently while stirring, making sure not to let it smoke.

Pour into a flameproof pot and place over low heat. The guests will dip the vegetables in the warm sauce either with fingers or with a fork (as for fondue).