Bagna Cauda dip

This classic Italian garlic and anchovy dip makes a piquant appetiser that is simplicity itself to prepare. The rich, buttery flavour is offset by the sharpness of the garlic and anchovies, and you only need some fresh crudités or steamed vegetables to make a deliciously light and elegant starter. It's worth trying to get hold of really good quality anchovies for this recipe, as ordinary tinned anchovies tend to be very salty. On the Isle of Wight, try Farmer Jack's farm shop in Arreton or Captain Stan's fishmongers in Bembridge.


Ingredients

  • 1 garlic bulb, cloves separated and peeled
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 30g (approx 1 slice) white sourdough bread, crusts removed
  • 75g anchovies, drained weight
  • 100g unsalted butter, diced


To serve: a selection of your favourite vegetables, raw or cooked

  • Radishes, washed and halved
  • Baby Gem lettuce, outer leaves removed and hearts quartered
  • Celery
  • Chicory or radicchio, quartered
  • Purple sprouting broccoli, steamed
  • Asparagus spears, cooked
  • Cauliflower florets, separated and cooked


Method

  1. Gently warm the milk in a pan with the garlic cloves for about twenty minutes, or until the garlic is quite soft.
  2. While the milk is heating, chop the anchovies finely, and tear or cut the bread into small pieces.
  3. Once the garlic has completely softened, gently crush the soft cloves with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the bread and anchovies to the milk pan and whisk briskly to create a thick sauce. If necessary, add up to two tablespoons more of milk.
  4. Now begin to gradually add the butter, whisking as you go to incorporate it into the sauce.
  5. Transfer the anchovy sauce into a bowl and serve warm, with dipping vegetables or crudités.

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