I first saw that I was making a Bagna Caoda, I had no clue what it was.
This was a learning experience for me (one of many I am sure!)
Marcella describes the flavors and sensations of the Piedmontese table being celebrated through the bagna caoda. The cold simple vegetables accompanied by the heat of the bagna caoda~ caoda being the word for hot. She recommends vegetables such as cardoons, artichokes, radishes, carrots, peppers and assorted greens for dipping.
Bagna Caoda is a dip of olive oil, butter, garlic and fresh anchovy fillets. The anchovies melt as the oil is warmed over a small flame. It is served with the freshest raw vegetables. You dip the vegetables into the hot oil.
Of course, I had a heck of a time finding Italian vegetables in Alabama. This must not have been the week for a shipper of fresh artichokes. No fresh anchovies as Marcella prefers, I just used the tiny fillets in a glass jar at Whole Funds.
The sensation of the cool and crisp vegetables with the hot thickened oil is amazing. The anchovies melt into a paste and all but disappear, leaving a warm salty flavor.