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The name of this Italian classic means “hot bath.” It invites a wide assortment of both raw and blanched vegetables for dipping. You can use good-quality canned anchovies or purchase loose-pack anchovies from a specialty market. Because this dish is rather messy to serve, it is ideal for an outdoor garden party. Just set up the fondue pot on a patio table.
Some of my friends who were of Italian heritage used to stage an annual party around this dish. Guests would bring either vegetables for dipping or a dessert. Custom decreed that eating bagna cauda would bring good health throughout the year.
In a fondue pot over medium-low heat, combine the olive oil, butter, garlic, anchovies, and red pepper flakes, if using. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat until the butter is melted, stirring to blend all ingredients. Reduce the heat to low; the mixture should stay warm but the butter should not brown.
Arrange your choice of 5 to 6 vegetable dippers on a platter at the table or in individual salad bowls. Guests can dip a vegetable into the bagna cauda and use a slice of bread to catch the drips.
Nutrients per serving (% daily value)
This recipe serves 8. Nutritional information includes 1/4 teaspoon of added salt, but does not include dippers.