Vegetables with ‘Bagna Cauda’


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Limoncello and Linen Water

Limoncello and Linen Water

By Tessa Kiros

Published 2012

  • About

This can stand alone as a main meal, but would also be good before a grilled fish dish. It is from northern Italy, where the sauce is traditionally kept warm over a flame so the vegetables can be dipped in it as everybody talks the night away. Here I have made a sauce to serve with a platter of vegetables. You can use any vegetables of your choice. The kind of anchovies to use are those whole ones packed in salt that usually come in beautiful huge tins.


  • 150 g ( oz) anchovies in salt
  • 375 ml (13 fl oz/ cups) milk
  • about 10 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little extra
  • pinch of ground chilli
  • your choice of vegetables
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • toasted slices of country-style bread
  • rosemary leaves


Rinse the anchovies and fillet them, removing the central bone. Put in a bowl and cover with 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) of milk. Leave to soak for half an hour or so. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan sauté the garlic in 4 tablespoons of olive oil until it smells good. Add the remaining milk and simmer, partly covered and stirring regularly so the garlic doesn’t stick, for 20 minutes or so, until pulpy.

When the garlic is very soft mash it into the milk in the saucepan with a potato masher or fork until pureed. Drain the anchovies, discarding the milk, then pat dry with paper towels and chop them up finely. Add to the garlic purée in the saucepan, along with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a good grinding of black pepper. Simmer, stirring very regularly, for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chilli and extra olive oil, if needed.

Prepare your accompaniments while the sauce is cooking. For example, boil potatoes in salted water, blanch cauliflower florets, hard-boil a couple of eggs. Rinse and trim spring onions (scallions), carrots, inner celery sticks with some leaves, fennel, red peppers (capsicums), artichokes. Rinse tomatoes, radishes, green radicchio leaves. Grill a few slices of bread. Chop enough rosemary leaves to fill a small plate. Arrange them all on platters or suitable serving dishes and serve with the sauce, which must be served warm with an extra grind of black pepper.