Literally translated as "hot bath," this dipping sauce for vegetables often appears in many Italian homes as part of the Christmas Eve buffet. Although cardoons (an edible thistle related to the artichoke but resembling celery) are traditional, celery makes a fine substitute and any combination of vegetables will do. In Italy, the routine goes like this: Vegetable pieces are dipped into the sauce (a fondue-style fork will help) and then eaten, with a slice of bread held underneath to catch the drippings. Once the bread is soaked with sauce, it's eaten, too. Then everyone starts over. It's fun for a party appetizer no matter where you live.
3/4 cup olive oil
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 anchovy fillets
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
Assorted fresh vegetables, cut into bite-size pieces
1 1-pound loaf crusty Italian or French bread, cut into 2-inch sections
Blend oil, butter, anchovies and garlic in processor until smooth. Transfer oil mixture to heavy medium saucepan. Cook over low heat 15 minutes, stirring, occasionally. (Sauce will separate.) Season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce into fondue pot or other flameproof casserole. Set pot over alcohol burner or gas table burner to keep warm. Serve with vegetables and bread.
Prepared by: Margo for June 2005 meeting