Store-cupboard recipes: bagna càuda


Photograph: Joe Woodhouse

With Piedmont still at the forefront of our minds, our Head Chef looks to his store-cupboard for inspiration. The result is a simple recipe taking advantage of relatively few ingredients – perfect for quarantine cooking

Bagna càuda is a staple in Piedmont. Often seen as an appetiser, it’s served warm – a little bit like a fondue. This recipe, for my version, is a cold emulsion that is a great alternative to mayonnaise or aïoli. I’ve always got a bit lurking in the fridge – and, in the current climate, it’s a good use of store cupboard essentials. Classically served with crudités and bread, I also find it’s a fantastic way to chip away at the your five a day, which still seem to be readily available. It’s also great as an accompaniment to a roast chicken or steak frites.

Bagna càuda
  • 1 head of garlic – cloves peeled and split
  • Semi-skimmed milk
  • 15g breadcrumbs
  • 2tbsp water
  • 100g anchovy fillets in extra virgin olive oil
  • 75ml 100% extra virgin olive oil
  • 4tsp lemon juice

Cover the garlic cloves with cold water. Bring to the boil, then rinse with cold water. Repeat the process two more times. Return to the pan and add enough milk just to cover the garlic. Bring to a simmer. Cook until the garlic is very soft. Remove from the heat and place in a blender with the breadcrumbs, anchovy, water and lemon juice. Blitz until smooth. While blitzing, slowly add the olive oil, until the mixture starts to thicken. Pass through a fine sieve. Serve with crusty or grilled bread, olives and crudités, or whatever else is to hand.

What to drink: You need something bright and fresh, perfect for bringing to life the spring sunshine outside (even if the temperature hasn’t quite caught up). If this is a side to the main event – some form of protein – then bright and juicy Dolcetto would work well. If it’s more of an apéritif, starter or almost-al-fresco affair, then a light, fresh, herbal Gavi or Arneis will almost transport you to the rolling hills of the Langhe.

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