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.
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).
© 1990 Mireille Johnston estate. All rights reserved.