I first learned about bagna cauda from my friend Lauren, who put Suzanne Goin’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques into my hands. “The recipes are fancy,” she said to me. “But skip to the Bagna Cauda. It means ‘warm bath.’” I made it for dinner that night, and I drenched a wide bowl of pasta and broccoli with the salty butter sauce. I had yet to discover my love of anchovies at that point, having only had the gray fillets on bad pizza. But this sauce was salty and silky and richly scented.
A warm bath is exactly the right image for this dish. Vegetables are gently roasted and laid on a row of pillowy endive. And the dip! I chose these vegetables specifically for their ability to hold the sauce. Set the platter in the center of the table and put your heads together as you pick your favorite bites. It’s crudités for January, fresh and rich and salty. I like this as a dip, but you can also pour the sauce over the vegetables and serve it as a salad. Feel free to shift up the vegetables with what looks good to you at the store. Just keep a good balance of roasted and fresh.
- Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
- 1 small head cauliflower (about 1½ pounds), cut into large florets
- 4 to 5 thin carrots, halved lengthwise
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 2 heads of Belgian endive, Treviso radicchio, or a mix, leaves separated
- 1 bunch radishes, greens removed, quartered
- ½ lemon
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped anchovies (5 to 7 anchovies, rinsed)
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Lay the cauliflower and carrots out on a rimmed baking sheet, and drizzle generously with olive oil. Shuffle the vegetables in the oil so the tray gets greased in the process. Sprinkle with salt. Roast until the vegetables are tender and brown in spots, about 25 minutes. While the Vegetables Roast, make the Sauce
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan set over low heat. Add the anchovies and red pepper flakes, and stir until the anchovies melt into the sauce, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme, and remove the pan from the heat. Add the salt.
- Arrange the endive leaves around the edge of a large wide bowl or platter. Then add an interior row of carrots and cauliflower. Tuck the radishes into the mix as well, and squeeze the lemon over the whole platter. Finally, pour the sauce into a bowl, and set it in the center of the vegetables. Dip directly into the bowl, or serve with a large spoon so each diner can scoop a puddle of sauce onto his or her plate to dip.